Three Ways Beauty Brands Can Adapt During COVID-19

By Happi Staff | 05.14.20

Opinium offers insight about changing consumer behavior.

Stay-at-home and work-from-home has meant sweatpants, messy (and greying) hair and far less makeup for many American consumers. And while Opinium’s latest research on the current state of affairs has revealed the changing nature of beauty in society right now, opportunities exist, according to the insight agency which has offices in London and New York.

A quarter of Americans (25%) are wearing less color cosmetics (foundation, blush, lipstick, eyeshadow) in lockdown. Of those who are using make up less often, over a third (35%) feel relieved that they don’t have to wear it anymore, while 39% are enjoying feeling like a more natural version of themselves. 15% of Americans expect to continue wearing less make up, suggesting a potential longer-term impact on beauty standards, found Opinium.

However, not everyone appreciates the option to follow lower-maintenance beauty routines—a smaller number (28%) miss wearing cosmetics, and a fifth (21%) say they don’t feel like themselves when not wearing them.

More than two in five (44%) of Americans wearing cosmetics in lockdown are doing so as a form of self-care during this difficult time. Older cosmetics users (those aged 55+) are more likely to be applying cosmetics during lockdown for this reason, 49% compared to 38% of younger Americans, aged 18-34 years.

Beauty products are also serving as an affordable way for consumers to ‘treat themselves’ during lockdown, with nearly a quarter (23%) revealing that they have treated themselves to higher-end or luxury beauty products whilst at home more.

While cosmetic use has declined, skin and hair care products have seen an increase in usage during the lockdown period. Three in ten (29%) are using skin care products more and a quarter (25%) are using hair care products more. A fifth (20%) report that they’ve been following longer and more elaborate skincare routines during lockdown and over a quarter (28%) are using more face masks. Similarly, a fifth (20%) are using more hair treatments.

How can beauty brands and salons adapt to the new market? Here are three ways, according to Opinium:

Beauty brand membership schemes: Heavy cosmetic users are interested in signing up to membership schemes with their favorite beauty brands. When asked how beauty brands and salons could engage with them during social distancing, the most popular response (28%) was a membership service. Such schemes could include a monthly fee that can be put towards purchasing items and gives access to exclusive content in lockdown, as well as access to exclusive items once restrictions are lifted.

DIY tutorials: Over a third (34%) of Americans who typically get their hair colored at a salon are planning to or have already colored their own hair during the lockdown. As a result, there is a market for DIY tutorials. Americans who would normally go to the hair salon are somewhat interested in watching how-to videos for different hair styles (17%). This percentage is higher among men (20% vs. 14% of women) and young people (27%). Similarly, men are twice as likely as women to express interest in personal consultations (17% vs 9%) and video chat assistance to guide them through cutting their hair at home (16% vs 8%).

Vouchers: 14% of salon customers under lockdown would be interested in buying vouchers for future services, with this increasing to 18% of men and 18% of those aged 18-34.

“As with many aspects of life under lockdown, we are seeing Covid-19 accelerate certain trends in the beauty industry. Online tutorials, natural makeup, and self-care are poised to become even more important elements of Americans’ relationship with beauty due to this health crisis. Many changes could leave their mark and beauty brands must prepare for a more permanent shift in beauty standards and consumer behavior as a result of lockdown,” said Giulia Prati, vice president research at Opinium US.