E-beauty lows: Hair care saw ‘steep decline’ in customer review sentiment during 2020

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty consumers in 2020 were largely dissatisfied with at-home hair dye kits and frustrated by delivery issues across the wider segment (Getty Images)
Beauty consumers in 2020 were largely dissatisfied with at-home hair dye kits and frustrated by delivery issues across the wider segment (Getty Images)

Related tags: e-commerce, online retail, Hair care, DIY, Hair dye products, Consumer trends, Revuze, COVID-19

Online beauty customer reviews in 2020 showed a sharp decline in sentiment across hair care, largely fuelled by product dissatisfaction around DIY hair colour kits and shipping issues, according to AI data specialist Revuze.

The Israel-headquartered firm used its self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) program to track and analyse data from around five million 2019 and 2020 user and customer reviews in Europe and the US, revealing top-trending topics and consumer sentiment changes in the beauty category during 2020.

Findings, outlined in Revuze’s How the Cosmetics eCommerce Industry Changed in 2020 ​report, indicated a boom in online customer reviews of facial care products, shaving kits, grooming accessories, and DIY hair colouring kits – largely fuelled by COVID-19 restrictions creating an uptick in online shopping. But not all beauty customer reviews were positive, the report found.

Beauty sentiments decline in personal care and hair care in 2020

“Sentiment declined in both personal care and hair-related product reviews,” ​Revuze said in its report, due to a combination of “users’ product dissatisfaction”​ and “shipping hiccups”.

Reviews on shaving, grooming and personal cleansing products all declined by -3.2% in sentiment versus 2019. Hair products “experienced a steep decline in sentiment” ​with almost all hair-related products experiencing a decline in sentiment in 2020. Sentiment around hair colouring products declined -8.5%; was down -2.4% for hair care products like shampoos and conditioners; and dipped -1.8% for hair styling products.

Almost 1 million (977,000) of online customer reviews collected from 2020 related to the hair care sector, with a 202% increase in verified purchase reviews of hair colouring products specifically – not surprising given hair salon closures worldwide due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Discussing findings, Alon Ghelber, chief marketing officer at Revuze, told CosmeticsDesign-Europe: “Hair colouring is mainly expectations versus reality (…) When you dye your own hair for the first time at home, you would get different results than you would get at a salon, or at least this is what consumers say.”

Ghelber said product dissatisfaction around delivery was also an important aspect of declining sentiment for other hair care segments.

Online beauty engagement soars – fierce competition from product to delivery

Despite the dip in sentiment across two important beauty categories – hair care and personal care – Ghelber said 2020 had seen an unprecedented spike in overall online customer reviews, proving just how engaged consumers were and how competitive e-commerce beauty had become.

In 2020, total online reviews of facial care products surged 84% compared to 2019; reviews of shaving and grooming products grew 75%; and reviews around oral care products were up 51%.

“We see that if someone buys a product in a supermarket or in a retail store, they are less inclined to write about it and their experience. But when they do it online, and it doesn’t matter if they had a good or bad experience, the number [of reviews] increases roughly at the same rate – it’s more than double when you buy a product online,” ​Ghelber said.

Revuze noted in its report that customer satisfaction when shopping online was also “no longer just defined by factors such as product quality, pricing, design etc.”​ but now also influenced by online checkout and payment processes, site performance, online customer support, shipping, delivery and packaging.

It was important to all keep this in mind when realising “e-commerce and retailers are a truly different thing”, ​Ghelber said.

“[Online] is a faster-paced environment, it’s more competitive and it has a lot more room to cater to consumer needs, mainly because the physical shelf is limited in terms of overall capacity.”

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