In Vietnam, the first official announcement of COVID-19 in the country was on February 1.
Subsequently, local consumers started stockpiling essential items such as food, household and personal care items.
“In the first four weeks after the official announcement on February 1, we witnessed consumers stocking up essential foods and hygiene items such as cooking aids, convenient foods, hand wash, bar soap, and cleaning products,” said Nguyen Thi Nhu Ngoc, marketing manager, Vietnam, Kantar Worldpanel.
According to Kantar Worldpanel, Vietnamese consumers prioritised personal hygiene products to protect themselves from the virus in the initial weeks. Products such as hand wash and bar soaps saw double- and even triple-digit rise.
As such, the personal care sector showed growth of 29% in the urban cities and 19% in rural areas –higher than total FMCG growth – over the first four weeks.
Skin care and personal hygiene remain strong
From April onwards the growth is expected to slow down as people will be staying at home more and making less trips out.
Nguyen expects colour cosmetics to take the biggest hit as people have been advised to stay home and will not have much use for make-up.
On the other hand, she believes skin care and personal hygiene products will remain resilient against the effects of the outbreak.
“Skin care is expected to remain or increase usage occasions. Mask, eye care, hand cream, body lotion will likely pick up as in-home treatments during the quarantine period.”
“There will be an increased demand towards personal hygiene products as we see a number of new consumers starting to purchase these products and, in some cases, increase their usage occasions, which could lead to a behavioural change in the long-term.”
Additionally, Nguyen expects e-commerce will give the beauty market a boost.
“E-commerce was already on an upwards trajectory in Vietnam. The beauty sector specifically saw about 80% of incremental beauty spend coming from online channels,” she said.
In order to tackle the impacts of COVID-19, Nguyen said cosmetic companies would do well to invest in online channels and delivery services. Additionally, she advises them to use this time to increase their digital presence with through their own websites and social media accounts.
Nguyen said beauty and personal care will bounce back quickly in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“The personal care sector and beauty market in particular is expected to go back to its normal level quickly post-outbreak and continue thriving,” said Nguyen.
She explained that Vietnam’s personal care market had been developing at breakneck speeds in recent years, thanks to more consumption from the rising middle class.
Additionally, Nguyen believes the beauty category will not be as affected by the impact of COVID-19 as the market still has room to grow.
“Based on our initial analysis and the nature of local market as beauty is still underdeveloped in Vietnam for both make-up and skin care. It will be less affected by the crisis and poses huge potential to develop further in terms of gaining popularity and consumption upgrading.”