January 4, 2021 Published by

It’s been nearly a year since the beauty industry has collectively been dealing with the implications, outcomes, and effects of the pandemic.  From supply chain disruptions to brick & mortar store closures, the business of beauty has been anything but normal in 2020.

How much will things change in 2021? When anticipated vaccinations become widespread, will consumers flock to indoor malls, or will they continue to buy beauty basics online? Will services, such as salons and spas, enjoy pre-pandemic levels of business right away? Or will business as usual take months, years, or are there some permanent consumer buying patterns emerging that brands and service providers need to prepare for?

In this article, results are shared from The Benchmarking Company’s three 2020 beauty consumer studies that reveal how Covid-19 has impacted consumers’ day to day lives. We’ll discuss how the consumer is prioritizing their health and beauty purchases (if at all), what they want from their favorite beauty brands now, steps consumers are taking to get back to “normal,” and the outlook post-pandemic.

The following data is derived from primary online research studies of 5,500 US female beauty consumers (March 25, 2020), 5,300 US female beauty consumers (May 5, 2020), and 2,700 US female beauty consumers and 400+ salon/spa professionals (September 28, 2020).

How Behaviors Have Changed

Working from home and general stay-at-home mandates resulted in lots of family togetherness, with little reason to see co-workers or friends save for the occasional foray to the grocery store or Zoom meeting.

Wearing makeup on a daily basis, styling one’s hair daily, and even shaving took a turn during the pandemic as consumers felt that if they weren’t seen, they wouldn’t bother.

The consumer has however, kept up with her normal skincare regimen during the pandemic. In March, 90% said they were following their normal skincare regimen, with 84% and 85% doing so in May and September respectively.

Eighty percent (80%) of consumers said they are trying to find activities that will lower her stress level during the pandemic as a whole, with 66% saying taking care of her skin and haircare needs reduced stress in March; 80% agreed it reduced stress in May, and 78% said it reduced stress in September.

The following charts indicate how beauty and personal care behaviors changed at the beginning of the pandemic in March, how they changed when the pandemic became a constant in May, and how those behaviors shifted again in September…