Health, beauty, skincare – buying habits COVID-19

We’ve seen the huge impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on consumer buying habits and brand engagement, especially within the health, beauty and skincare categories.

With shoppers having to adjust the way in which they purchase these types of products, we thought it would be a good time to investigate what the drivers have been for this shift and how some brands are going to be able to benefit from this change in shopper behaviour.

Preventative and safe beauty

COVID-19 has undoubtedly made us all more aware of the viruses and germs living on surfaces, and with the strict hand washing guidelines that have been in place since the beginning, sales of hand sanitisers and soap rocketed. According to Mintel reports, there has also been an increased demand for hand care i.e. creams and moisturisers, with people wanting to replenish their skin from the alcohol in the sanitisers.

Care over cosmetics

Make up and beauty are widely associated with dressing up and ‘going out’ – so, for obvious reasons, the industry has seen a sharp decline in colour cosmetics and fragrances. With people more inclined to spend their money on facial, hair and nail care for at-home beauty treatments to replace salon visits.

Market analyst Kline split products into four categories;
Rescue products – should see a spike in sales
Everyday basics
– more or less unaffected
Soothing solutions – facial and nail care are expected to be in high demand, especially in the short term
Can-wait categories – luxuries, such as fragrance and cosmetics, will decline

Online and supermarket spending

The closure of key department stores and boutiques has seen a rise in online spending. Consumers who would normally shop in store have been forced to make their purchases online. Online beauty retailers reported a 51% uplift in sales in April. Paired with this, people are spending longer online, researching products, reading reviews etc to make better purchasing decisions. Brands have needed to look at their supply chain and ensure key, ‘in-demand’ products are available at the right times.

With supermarkets being the key destination for all essentials, people are looking to make all beauty and skincare purchases under one roof on their limited shopping trips.

Conscious beauty

Consumers are making smart choices with their purchases as a result of the pandemic. Conscious beauty combines ‘good beauty’ and ‘healthy beauty’. With good beauty focusing on choosing more authentic products which are socially responsible. Healthy beauty assists the setting of personal health goals and promotes self-care. Consumers want high quality beauty products, but they also want to feel good about the choices they make. So, brands with a ‘plant-based’, ‘plastic-free’, ‘vegan’ or ‘clean beauty’ message are set to continue benefitting from this change in perception.

At-home pampering

We’ve all been doing everything we can to make ourselves feel good during lockdown. With salon treatments a distant memory, people have been turning to self-care at home to pass the time and offer some much-needed TLC. Soothing stressed skin and calming anxious minds is high on people’s list of priorities for looking after personal wellbeing. Therefore, the demand for products such as boxed hair colour and root touch-up, facemasks, nail care and gadgets, such as derma-planning tools, have risen in weeks.

What does this mean for beauty and skincare brands moving forward?

With these changes in consumer behaviour and shift in shopping and buying habits, brands will see opportunities in new areas, specifically the digital space.

Online retailers are going to see a real boost, so it is important that they stand out by offering additional digital services which people would normally visit a salon or department store counter for. Consumers will be looking for skin assessment tools on websites to advise what products they need to suit their skin. These could be online forms, live chat features, Q&A streams with beauticians or videos explaining product features and benefits and ‘how to use’.

People have had to turn to DIY services at home, so are therefore looking to social media tutorials for tips on how to perform these services. People will want to learn new techniques and tips on anything from contouring to cleaning make up brushes, so having relatable and relevant expert social content is key.


About The Foundry

The Foundry is a strategic communications agency, based in Manchester, delivering fully-integrated marketing campaigns for B2B, B2C, public sector and healthcare clients.

Marketing services that support patient education include qualitative and quantitative research, social media campaigns, educational websites, CPD programmes, online learning tools, in-clinic training materials, posters and patient literature.

For more information, call 0161 926 8444.