Beauty revival: Top 10 stories on post-COVID beauty revival and consumer trends

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Our top 10 stories from the past year that highlight how the beauty sector is bouncing back from the pandemic. [Getty Images]
Our top 10 stories from the past year that highlight how the beauty sector is bouncing back from the pandemic. [Getty Images]

Related tags COVID-19 Consumer trends Skin care make-up Apac

Here we reveal our top 10 stories from the past year that highlight how the beauty sector is bouncing back from the pandemic

Back with a vengeance: Data reveals top emerging beauty trends as ‘revenge spending’ soars in Japan

Coloured brows, K-beauty, sustainability, and genderless cosmetics are among the top trends to keep an eye on in Japan as beauty consumers embark on revenge shopping sprees.

Since the priority measures such as spread prevention were lifted nationwide on March 21, 2022, revenge consumption was seen in the cosmetics industry as well as in the travel and food and beverage industries.

Since local authorities loosened social distancing measures in March, online beauty platform @cosme has observed revenge consumption in the cosmetics market. In May, its flagship store, @cosme Tokyo, set record-high monthly sales.

In late May, it conducted a survey of consumers which reported that 70% of respondents said they would increase spending on cosmetics. It was higher (80%) among younger consumers in their 20s.


Stress management: Mitigating the negative effects of stress driving beauty R&D for Clariant

Clariant says managing the adverse impact of stress on our physical appearance is driving its research and development in a post-pandemic world.

The Swiss company was at in-cosmetics Asia 2022 trade show in Bangkok, Thailand, to showcase three ingredients that all relate to the concept of mitigating how stress affects or skin or hair.

“That’s what drives all our developments at this time. Managing stress is really what drives our R&D,”​ said Alexandre Lapeyre, global head of marketing and business development actives and natural origins.

This approach to beauty has taken root over the past few years as we collectively coped with the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.


Mane problem: Evidence of long COVID hair loss could spur demand for effective natural solutions

Gencor Pacific is eyeing huge opportunities in Asia Pacific’s anti-hair loss market, as studies show it is a common effect of long COVID.

The Hong Kong-headquartered company specialises primarily in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients.

Recently, the company made its entry into the beauty and personal care market with HairAGE Vitae, an Ageratum conyzoides​ extract. Commonly known as billy goat weed, it is a widely available plant found in Africa, Asia, and South America.

R.V. Venkatesh, managing director, Gencor Pacific told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that the firm sees huge potential in the APAC hair care market for the ingredient, which can be applied to a variety of products, including herbal shampoos and leave-on gels.


Celebration and colour: Olive Young mid-year sales data reveals demand for colour and fragrance

Colour cosmetics, ‘fashion’ hair dyes and perfumes were among the most in-demand categories among South Korean beauty consumers, according to 2022 mid-year sales data from leading beauty retailer Olive Young.

Olive Young is a health and beauty store owned by the CJ Group, one of South Korea’s largest conglomerates.

According to a report published by the retailer, data showed that sales patterns were different compared to the previous year.

In 2022, consumers were focused on ‘colour and scent’, ​signalling a return to pre-pandemic trends.


Buying behaviours: Smaller basket sizes, but premium demand steady in post-pandemic beauty retail

More cautious spending behaviours among shoppers are resulting in smaller basket sizes among Asia’s beauty consumers, but the demand for premium products is staying strong.

As more countries loosen COVID-19 restrictions, more consumers are returning back to stores. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platform Atome has observed that offline sales make up the lion’s share of transactions for its merchant partners, which include Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, Innisfree and Augustinus Bader.

Approximately 60% to 65% of sales are generated through offline transactions, said Vangie Hu, Atome’s vice president of marketing told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.


Made for me: Customised cosmetics will become ‘centrepiece’ of K-beauty in a post-COVID market – Review

Customised cosmetics innovation will be a significant driver of the South Korean beauty market and will provide it “unique” competitive edge, according to a new review.

A new review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology ​has suggested that custom cosmetics innovation will become the “centrepiece” ​of the K-beauty industry in the post-pandemic market.

After the COVID-19 pandemic, the advanced product consumption market due to the popularisation of customised curation services for cosmetics in Republic of Korea is expected to develop in the future, growing into the centrepiece of the beauty industry.”

The review, published on August 30, 2022, postulated that the rise in demand for customised cosmetics was due to the changes in consumer patterns triggered by COVID-19.


‘Mochi skin’: Beauty consumers want humid-proof make-up that feels like ‘second skin’ – Kosé Singapore

Demand for light, barely-there make-up that can resist humidity while also providing some skin care benefits will endure post-pandemic, especially in warm, equatorial climates such as South East Asia, claims Kosé Singapore.

On August 29, 2022, Singapore lifted its indoor mask rule in most indoor public spaces, a huge boon for the colour cosmetics market, which had been severely impacted by the pandemic.

While masks may no longer be needed, Lim Yi Fang, brand manager, Kosé Singapore told CosmeticsDesign-Asia​ that many of the preferences that were formed during the pandemic are likely to persist.

“I think it will still be able minimalist make-up – products that enhance your features so it's like your skin, but better. Nothing too heavy and cakey, just make-up that feels light, like a second skin. It’s that whole concept of having ‘mochi skin’.”


How to win over… beauty consumers in the shifting post-pandemic brick-and-mortar landscape

Major brands including Sephora, Lush Cosmetics, Health & Glow and SUGAR Cosmetics have exclusively shared their insights on how they are redefining the in-store consumer experience in the wake of the COVID-pandemic.

Since the 2010s, when Amazon hastened the decline of physical bookstores, pundits have been predicting a retail apocalypse. A landscape littered with shuttered storefronts, where mankind is utterly dependent on Alexa to send orders to a fleet of drones standing ready to deliver anything and everything within hours.

Over a decade later, as we begin emerging from the fight against COVID-19, there are some who believe that our future may very well be headed that way, especially now that the pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated retail’s digital transformation.

However, the death of brick-and-mortar retail has been greatly exaggerated. It is not declining as much as it is going through a metamorphosis, finding a way to coexist with its digital counterpart, all to make the consumers’ shopping experience that much seamless and pleasurable.

No doubt: Estée Lauder CEO remains ‘enthusiastic’ about China despite growing concerns

The CEO of the Estée Lauder Companies has underlined his strong conviction in China’s beauty market despite a recent dip in performance and fears related to an economic recession.

This quarter, net sales declined for Asia Pacific, due primarily to the resurgence of COVID-19 in China, which resulted in reduced retail traffic, travel restrictions, and stresses on its logistics facilities in Shanghai.

According to the firm, organic sales fell by mid-single-digits as it saw a steep decline in brick-and-mortar. The 25% growth of its online sales could not offset the decline.

“After a strong February in Mainland China, traffic slowed more sharply in March to pressure brick-and-mortar sales. Additionally, for us, the distribution centres for our Mainland China business are in Shanghai and operated with limited capacity. Tourism, to Hainan Island, was also curtailed in March, after a vibrant start of the quarter,” ​said Fabrizio Freda, president, CEO and director of The Estée Lauder Companies, speaking during the firm's latest earnings conference.


‘What we’re strong at’: Mistine China banking on eye and complexion make-up to grow colour cosmetics category

Thai beauty brand Mistine is aiming to grow its colour cosmetics category in China and has identified eye make-up and complexion products as its biggest opportunities.

Mistine is the flagship cosmetics brand of Thai company BetterWay Co. and is known locally and regionally for its variety of affordable colour cosmetic products.

However, when the brand debut in China in 2016, it focused on its skin care offerings instead. This strategy made Mistine one of the top sunscreen brands in China, especially among the generation Z crowd.

However, the company is now looking at opportunities beyond sunscreen and will be focusing more on colour cosmetics moving forward.

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