Bye bye Covid... but thank you for the tech!
Beauty’s new normal looks like it’s here to stay.
It’s the seventh Zoom call of the day. As you sit trying to avoid eye contact with yourself once again, there's definitely something to be said for video platforms keeping the beauty industry alive in lockdown. Speaking from personal experience, the hours of unavoidable self-scrutiny and a general lack of vitamin D are compelling forces when it comes to buying beauty products!
With the self-care and wellness industry booming as people look to new ways to feel good about themselves in uncertain times, there’s more of a collective acceptance this time round that we’re all just a bit frazzled and need to grasp what small slivers of joy we can get our hands on.
Beauty routines, for many, are a way of staying sane and keeping some kind of consistency during the many 'unprecedented' (ergh, that word!) variables we’re batting off on a daily basis. As such, the industry hasn’t suffered quite as much as some of its counterparts in other retail sectors.
According to a McKinsey report last April, in-store shopping accounted for up to 85% of beauty product purchases prior to the Covid crisis. As such, brands have had a task on their hands to quickly roll out virtual offerings in 2020, replacing the in-store experience with tools like virtual consultations, online skin surveys and one-to-many masterclasses.
Now that these are happily ticking over, how many of them will we continue to use once they're no longer a necessity?
We surveyed beauty customers in the UK on their feelings towards using virtual tools when the stores reopen. While 31% said they’d go straight back to stores, 47% are now after a combination of the two. Crucially, 21% said they’d feel safer and more confident using virtual experiences alone.
The success of virtual consultations has shown that shoppers still value speaking to a make-up artist before making a purchase online. This extends to one-to-many experiences, which allow customers to be part of an event with like-minded others. 53% of our respondents said they’d be happy to pay up to £20 for a virtual masterclass provided they receive discounts or offers for signing up. 84% want to be able to shop the products there and then, with the option to buy later if they want to.
When it comes to the brands they’d like to see offering this kind of experience, the message is loud and clear – all of them! From MAC, NYX and Fenty Beauty to Makeup Revolution and Liz Earle, beauty shoppers are a red-hot audience for testing out new innovations.
This is all pretty encouraging for brands who've chosen to invest in virtual sales channels in the past year. They've succeeded in bolstering their artillery with a suite of buying options to suit all environments that will no doubt be dialled up or down to varying degrees as we navigate an increasingly uncertain future.
Finally… I'm thinking of starting a petition for a month-long ban on the word 'unprecedented' when this is over. Who's with me?!