Sales of skin care, including body care, are proving resilient, according to GlobalData’s COVID-19 Weekly Tracker Week 6, which affirms that European consumers say they are buying the same amount of products as before the pandemic hit Europe. Under lockdown, it has been noted that consumers are spending more time or spending time differently on beauty rituals.
“Consumers might not have the same rush in the morning so they are able to take their time,” maintains Yamina Tsalamlal, consumer analyst, GlobalData. “A beauty ritual can be a source of looking good to feel good and improving wellness in a time of anxiety.”
However, there is a caveat: when asked how the pandemic was affecting their spending on beauty and grooming products, 20% of European consumers said they were buying products at a lower price. Tsalamlal said this could increase as the pandemic continues and, if a global recession materializes, consumers will tighten their belts.
“Price could become a priority for more consumers,” she noted.
According to Euromonitor International, sales of body care products grew 1.0% in Western Europe to top $3.9 billion in 2019, but are expected to drop back by 1.1% by the end of 2020. The fall will be more marked in Eastern Europe, where body care sales tracked 4.4% higher in 2019 at about $970 million, but are expected to decline 6.8% by the end of 2020.
Hand Care Benefits
However, the one bright spot is hand care, which Euromonitor predicts will grow in Western Europe by 6.8% to nearly $670 million in 2020. This is likely to be the result of more frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers due to the coronavirus outbreak, which is playing havoc with people’s hands, resulting in dry, cracked painful skin; as a result, many consumers are increasing their usage of hand creams and lotions.
According to Mintel research, 86% of UK and 82% of German consumers say they are washing their hands more often, while 59% of UK consumers surveyed in April are using hand sanitizers more often. Clare Hennigan, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, explained that as consumers become more aware about viruses and germs living on surfaces, beauty products packaged in ways that eliminate the need to touch one’s face will stand out.
“Spray and stick formats have been increasing in popularity, and with the arrival of COVID-19, ‘touchless’ beauty products will see increased demand,” she predicted.
Beauty brand managers are wising up to the opportunity to promote hand care products by linking them to good causes, such as donating products to frontline medical workers or repurposing their production lines to manufacture equipment such as face masks.
For example, Clarins’ French factories have responded to the demand for hand sanitizers by donating bottles to the French health services, in addition to giving skin soothing moisturizers including nourishing hand treatments. L’Occitane was among the first to donate thousands of its hand creams to UK NHS workers, and Nursem, a UK brand developed with nurses in mind, is donating hand cream products to frontline workers. Luxury fragrance brand, Miller Harris, went a step further by donating its complete range of hand washes, lotions and bar soaps to Age UK, the leading charity for older people.
Spa at Home
According to Feelunique, the online beauty retailer, consumers are looking for ways to boost their wellbeing and mood during self isolation as a result of the pandemic. As long-distance travel is unlikely to be a date in any European’s diary for some time, scented beauty products are the next-best-thing in evoking that far off place. Perfectly summoning up Feelunique’s “spa-worthy vibes” are the body care products Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream and Coco Cabana Cream which conjure up the nostalgia of cocktails and dancing on a Brazilian beach.
GlobalData is noticing that the trend for wellness and de-stressing is led by celebrities and social media influencers on Instagram and TikTok.
“Because people are at home with more time on their hands, they are watching and sharing at-home hacks for popular beauty and wellness treatments,” observes Tsalamlal. “As the pandemic and its economic impact is expected to have longer term effects than just the quarantine across Europe, we can anticipate that consumers will still want the spa experience, but with a DIY hack to save money.”
Local brands have the opportunity to stand out at this time and consumers are being encouraged through the media to support independent brands that don’t have the resources to compete with big brands.
“Through storytelling and marketing, local brands can connect with consumers and show how they contribute to their community,” states Tsalamlal, citing London based brand, Sister & Co, as a good example of slowing down the wellness regime. The range of bath and body products combine delicious scents, luxurious textures and a range of therapeutic benefits in sustainably-sourced formulations that are also certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free.
At a time when almost all retail shops are closed, beauty brands are looking to get their products to consumers in a variety of different ways. Subscription boxes are ideally placed to create at-home wellness experiences.
“Some consumers might want a service or product that is customized to their needs, while others want the surprise effect of trying new products,” explains Tsalamlal. For example, Natural Beauty Box connects ethically-minded consumers with ethical and eco-luxe British artisan brands they may not know about.
EBrands that adapt their offer with products suited to the needs of stay-at-home consumers are more likely to weather the uncertainty of the months ahead, ensuring the category is in better shape when current restrictions are finally lifted.
Headington, Oxford UK
+44 1865 764918
Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher who commentates on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles, has served on the Board of Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW UK) and won the prestigious Cosmetic Executive (UK) Achiever Award. Founded by Imogen in 1993, The Premium Market Report remains the only in-depth report to examine trends in the premium cosmetics, skincare and fragrance industry.