This report examines the early impact of and short-term outlook for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic on the beauty industry. Consumption patterns, channel dynamics and beauty routines are seeing inevitable shifts as a result of lockdown measures, selective retail, business and salon closures, and travel restrictions. As seen in previous crises, staple toiletries will show more resilience, while discretionary beauty and the premium segment will suffer in the short and longer term.
As an immediate priority, attention turns to bottlenecks around supply chain operations, including raw material sourcing, excess inventory, product availability and manufacturing facilities, to address newly challenged supply and demand scenarios. With tighter border controls, re-localising sourcing and production will be an inevitable outcome in the longer term, alongside streamlining through automation and better integration. Proximity stands to benefit overall costs and speed of delivery, but also supports other overarching and prevalent issues of sustainability and ethics.
Diversion from offline to online is an immediate necessity but building on the digital activation and omnichannel strategies already observed pre-COVID-19 will need a refocus in the context of a more pronounced need for virtual experiences alongside new points of sale within social networks and livestreaming. outlet numbers, in-store experiences and product curation, given that physical shopping is still a much preferred choice for many consumers, including the all important Gen-Z. While online will inevitably gain a larger share after the pandemic, stores will need to reinvent in terms of
With many consumers likely to retain home habits even after the pandemic-linked recession, catering for those needs in the form of product formats, accessibility and experiences will need nurturing. Considering the economic impact of the crisis and more cautious spending patterns as a result, new stories around premium attributes will need reinforcing, both for essentials and discretionary products, to sustain business momentum and potentially commercialise completely new opportunities. Premium brands will have to show greater flexibility in terms of channel mix and turn to retail avenues previously outside their immediate comfort zone, as well as endorse the concept of ‘affordable luxury’ more strongly.
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