To say that 2020 has been a year full of surprises is a bit of an understatement. Industries have been forced to adapt or perish in extremely uncertain times. Very few industries have managed to come through unscathed during the coronavirus pandemic. However, more and more businesses are accepting the realities of navigating through the complexities of shutdowns and social distancing. Some have managed to discover new opportunities. One industry heavily impacted by the coronavirus is the beauty products and skincare. Quarantine and social distancing have meant more time at home. People have developed DIY self-care routines for their beauty regimes that have created a downturn in trade for this sector.

Coping with a Decreasing Demand for Beauty Products

During lockdowns, the skincare and beauty industry experienced a brief surge in purchasing panic. - 123RF Blog

Shot of organic skincare lab testing by marctran on 123RF.

When the lockdowns started, the beauty industry experienced a brief surge in sales. While panic buying was the driving force behind this brief upward trend, most transactions occurred within the skincare health range of products. People staying indoors aren’t as compelled to enhance their appearance with beauty products such as cosmetics and makeup. Instead, they’re leaning toward taking care of their skin from a health and self-care perspective.

People staying indoors for quarantine are leaning toward taking care of their skin from a health and self-care perspective.

Photo of woman doing her skincare routine by sonjachnyj.

How And Where Beauty Products Get Sold During a Pandemic

Before the coronavirus pandemic, around 85% of beauty products were sold via in-store shopping.

Daring red rouge photo by marctran.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, around 85% of beauty products were sold via in-store shopping. Even the millennial and Gen Z demographics accounted for approximately 60% of in-store beauty sales. These are the generations known for being online and tech-savvy and more prone to shopping online. After COVID-19 shutdowns, around 30% of beauty outlets were closed down, with quite a few shutting their doors for good. The ones that might survive will be waiting for a year before they can resume trading.

In the beauty industry, it's the experience before purchase that is responsible for driving the majority of conversions.

Pressed powder foundation shot by lightfieldstudios.

In the beauty industry, it’s the experience before purchase that is responsible for driving the majority of conversions. Beauty demonstrations, expert consultations, and other in-store services help to promote the products. The need to recreate the same level of personal service in an environment compatible with social distancing has led many brands to innovate with technology. Think about beauty brands using AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality).

Major cosmetics brands like Sephora and L’Oreal have invested in Modiface. Ulta Beauty has gone down a similar path with an investment in GlamST. Modiface and GlamST are technology companies specializing in AR-powered virtual makeup apps.

Beauty Brands Pivoting To Online Consultations and Sales

Beauty brand marketers have figured out how they can continue supplying their products to people in shutdown.

Beauty vlogger recording a makeup tutorial by twinsterphoto.

Without a personal shopping experience to support sales, beauty brands are also embracing e-commerce and digital marketing channels. Beauty brand marketers have figured out how they can continue supplying their products to people in shutdown.

Kiehl, a famous skincare brand, has transitioned into providing digital in-store consultation with skin health experts. The customer answers a series of questions via their Healthy Skin Hub. Clients then receive suitable recommendations for their skin type from verified experts.

Beauty brand Glossier has adopted a digital sales approach by creating a series of IGTV online makeup and skincare tutorials.

Glossier-esque products in a 3D render by inkdrop.

Glossier has adopted a digital sales approach by creating a series of IGTV online makeup and skincare tutorials. London skincare clinic, Pfeffer Sal, created a digital skin MOT conducted by an online therapist. They have also made available home facial kits so consumers can treat themselves to professional-level skincare routines.

Beauty Brands Leveraging Social Engagements to Make Sales

Social media has no doubt played a significant role in helping beauty and skincare continue to trade through the pandemic. However, other up-and-coming online tools have also played a part. Zoom, a popular video-conferencing app, has been used successfully to promote beauty and skincare products. Trestique and Glow Recipe have both used Zoom to host consumer-facing events. They aimed to create an online meeting that is more akin to a social gathering, rather than purely a product demonstration.

While some people may consider the purchase and use of beauty products during a pandemic to be frivolous and vain, to others, skincare and cosmetics play an integral part of their self-care routine and an excellent source of stress relief.

Makeup artist demonstrating a beauty product line via web conferencing by Вадим Пастух.

While some people may consider the purchase and use of beauty products during a pandemic to be frivolous and vain, to others, skincare and cosmetics play an integral part of their self-care routine and an excellent source of stress relief. Lately the skincare trend has transformed into a special form of self-care therapy. Plus, there is no denying the importance of a multi-billion industry to the global economy. Ensuring as many industries have a chance to survive and even prosper during uncertain times will mean that it’s much easier to return to normal once the crisis has passed. If you own an e-commerce business, click here to learn how to make more sales and online transactions happen.

Header photo by lightfieldstudios.