At the moment, the hair care category is experiencing sluggish demand due to the major disruptions the epidemic has caused to daily life.
For instance, more people are opting to work from home and avoiding crowded places. In some cases, there have been mass quarantines.
These factors have causes Chinese consumers to decrease their frequency of hair washing.
In China, where cities have experienced lockdowns, the topic on hair washing – or lack thereof – has been widely discussed on social media platform Sina Weibo.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, the topic has over 65,000 discussions on the subject and garnered over 379 million page views.
Jason Yu, managing director, Great China, Kantar Worldpanel, pointed out that this was unlike the situation during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2003.
“During SARS outbreak in 2003 there was no official quarantine policy from the government, so most consumers still maintained their regular pace of daily work and life… This boosted certain cleansing categories such as hair shampoo and body wash,” Yu said
In the long-term, however, Yu predicts that the hair care category will experience a speedy recovery.
“We can foresee that in a short period, the related categories, such as hair shampoo, conditioner, will see a drop in purchasing. But in the medium to long term, with the relief of epidemic situation and people returning to work, the hair care category will soon start to pick up,” he said.
Masks cancel out need for make-up
In contrast, the firm said that colour cosmetics will continue to feel the effects of the epidemic for a long time to come, as it believed that it would take awhile for people to feel safe enough to wear surgical masks.
“We estimate that during the current outbreak or even some time after the outbreak finishes, the recovery of colour cosmetics will be relatively slow as the protection on face will last for some time,” said Yu.
In spite of this, the younger generation will still continue to utilise colour cosmetics as they are more involved in social networking.
“The increasing popularity of video conferencing, video dating, selfies and live-streaming on social networks mean many young consumers will still wear makeup, and some sophisticated females even invented face mask make-up styles which focus more on eye makeup,” said Yu.
Yu highlighted that ‘face mask make-up’ has gained more than 14,000 discussions with over 8.9 million pageviews on Sina Weibo.
Similarly, the fragrance category, which has been growing rapidly in China in recent years, will experience a slowdown, said Yu.
“Due to less socialising out of the home during the epidemic outbreak combined with the increased usage of disinfectant fluids and sprays, the number of fragrance usage occasions will be reduced significantly.”
As for skin care, Yu believes the demand would remain or even increase as the long periods of sedentary indoor lifestyles may affect skin health negatively.
“These factors will drive the rebound of the skin care category, especially those products with the benefits of keeping skin healthy,” said Yu.
As society recovers from the COVID-19 epidemic, Yu expects that Chinese consumers will begin to pay more attention to the environment.
According to a survey on sustainability by Kantar Worldpanel in 2019, more than half of Chinese consumers reported to pay close attention to ‘sustainability’, mainly out of their concern on health.
As such, the firm foresees that products with environmental-friendly elements will find favour with consumers.
“This will likely inspire the beauty industry to integrate sustainability into brand strategy, and focus more on products with natural and healthy concepts,” said Yu.