The ongoing global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the world in many ways and notably influenced consumer behaviour – shaping shopping habits, priorities, spending and brand engagement.
While impact had been seen across a range of consumer product categories, Roshida Khanom, associate director for Mintel Beauty & Personal Care, said there had been important effects felt in beauty.
Coronavirus drives preventative and safe beauty
“At the start of the outbreak we saw consumers taking a protect and prevent approach in the personal care sector, increasing on behaviours they would do during normal cold/flu season,” Khanom said in a recent blog post.
Hand sanitisers and pain relief products sold out fast and immune-boosting vitamins and supplements also proved popular, she said. Soaps had also benefitted from hand washing guidelines and focus on hygiene and cleanliness.
Clare Hennigan, senior beauty analyst at Mintel, said there had also been an increased demand for safe and reliable products amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“COVID-19 is impacting the way consumers approach beauty and personal care products, especially when they consider ingredient safety, cleanliness and shelf-life,” Hennigan said in a separate blog post.
Lasting impact? Premium hand care
These changes to consumer priorities and habits ultimately then impacted the wider beauty and personal category, Khanom said.
As a “knock-on effect” from increased handwashing, she said hand cream will be in greater demand.
Specifically, hand care products associated with a better sensorial profile would generate more traction in the coming weeks and months, she said; particularly hand sanitisers that didn’t dry out skin or had “benefits beyond sanitation” like moisturising or a fragrance.
US direct-to-consumer hand sanitiser brand Touchland, which claimed to have products to ‘make your skin happy’, had already reported a sales increase since the COVID-19 outbreak, for example.
Overall, Khanom said hand care would likely see a premiumisation across the category.
A clean beauty evolution - not like before
Hennigan said the “unprecedented impact of COVID-19” would also have clear implications for the “evolution of clean beauty” – a category that had “consistently evolved to meet consumer needs and demands”.
“…What started out as a natural ingredient trend has snowballed into a movement incorporating elements such as safety, transparency, sourcing and manufacturing practices and a slew of other factors that play into the final product,” she said.
But, natural consumers – who previously avoided preservatives and artificial ingredients – would shift priority towards shelf-stability and sanitation, she said; “more willing to accept these ingredients”, providing brands proved efficacy and safety from a health and environmental perspective.
“The arrival of the novel coronavirus will further push the notion that natural isn’t always better, especially when it comes to ingredient safety and shelf-life,” Hennigan said.
According to Mintel research, she said more than one in 10 adults already agreed clean beauty products expired too quickly.
“The future of clean ingredient formulations will rely on safe synthetic ingredients, which may improve shelf-life. COVID-19 is a catalyst towards this movement, with brands facing more pressure to convey safety, longevity and efficacy.
To avoid distrust, brands must educate consumers about the benefits and stability of synthetic ingredients, while providing evidence and certifications/seals of approval that denotes product safety,” she said.