Taking stock of post-pandemic beauty
“With consumer behavior shifting towards preventive health, products such as hand sanitizers and hand soaps were out of stock in all channels,” Radhika Singal, research consultant at Euromonitor International Happi said.
As consumers turned to digital channels when beauty retailers closed, the reality is that sales in many categories have plummeted. According to Radhika, social isolation has had the most negative impact on the makeup, perfume and sun care categories, and the premium fragrance category will be “the worst victim” in the long run due to travel bans. low tourism and limited gift giving opportunities.
“Professional salon products are also suffering from the discontinuation of these services, but there has been a boom in home treatments such as depilatories and hair dyes and skin care continue to thrive,” Singal explained.
As we slowly emerge from lockdown and into a “new normal”, priorities have shifted for most of us; and that means that many beauty brands, to stay relevant, will need to rethink the way they cater to consumers.
Many Asian beauty giants are already making changes, adapting to the crisis with an empathetic approach and offering “wellness courses” on social media. For example, The Body Shop Malaysia has launched an omnichannel initiative with express delivery service through the Grab app-based delivery service. Consumers can place an order on their phone or via a WhatsApp message, pay and choose same-day delivery to their doorstep, or pick it up at a designated drive-thru point in the mall.
According to Radhika, teleconsultations have also become popular with people like Clarins Singapore, who introduced Clarins & Me, a free consultation service with a beauty expert over the phone. Somewhere else, Bobbi Brown Singapore launched a series of makeup tutorials on Facebook called Beauty Recess, promoting it as an enjoyable lunch break for those who work from home.
Many beauty brands have adopted an e-commerce group LazadaLazLive’s interactive online engagement feature, to connect directly with consumers during the pandemic. And during a three-day #backtobeauty marathon on the platform, L’Oréal live streamed skin treatments, makeup looks, augmented reality games, and featured flash sales and deals.
Lazada hosted an audience of 27 million on its live streaming service in April, driving a 45% month-over-month GMV increase with its see now, buy now feature, helping brands and salespeople to increase sales despite blockages and stay-at-home recommendations across the region, ”according to the analyst.
As the physical retail space reopens, brands must walk a tightrope, abiding by government measures and reassuring the cautious consumer that it is safe to return to traditional outlets. Many retailers are ordering UV light boxes to sanitize inventory, and there is even talk of quarantining products for 24 to 48 hours if they have been touched by consumers.
In Malaysia, cosmetic brands are mandated by the government to remove all in-store testers and suspend beauty services, and many are going above and beyond to focus on cashless transactions and contactless beauty consultations at using disposable tools.
In Singapore, the government plans to deploy more than 200 mobile UV Sunburst robots in shopping malls and health centers that emit powerful UVC light that is clinically proven to disinfect the environment by tearing DNA strands from the virus and is more efficient than manual cleaning.
In the coming months, with product testers unavailable in-store, Radhika says there is no reason why virtual technology already available to consumers online cannot be used in-store.
Ulta beauty is already promoting GlamLab, its virtual technology trial, as an alternative to in-store testing when it opens in the United States.
“There is no reason why the Virtual artist application from Sephora or Modiface from L’Oréal should not be suitable for the same application,” explains Singal. “As Sephora prepares to open stores in Singapore, it will leverage its Virtual Artist app to digitally try out products in-store using facial recognition technology. Products can be purchased in the app or paid for at checkout.
Banning cash payments will boost the cashless economy, making it easier for retailers to integrate buy now, pay later and other flexible payment options that could become a long-term preference for consumers.
According to the Euromonitor International analyst, there will be an increase in humanitarian collaborations. L’Oréal Malaysia, for example, recently partnered with the country’s Hairdressers Association to discuss procedures for reopening hair salons.
Meanwhile, Lazada has partnered with a start-up, Aspire, to provide working capital loans up to $ 100,000 within three hours of application to SMEs listed on Lazada to support small businesses in period. financial hardship and make sure they don’t go bankrupt.
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Michelle Yeomans is an award-winning multimedia journalist. She reported on cosmetic industry movements in EMEA, the United States and Asia for five years and won an award for her coverage of the complexity of operations in the Middle East. Michelle’s passion lies in following the beauty culture and trends of the Asia Pacific region. Still passionate about audiovisual, she also relishes the opportunity to create engaging video and podcast content for the B2B industry.