Temperature check. 

Sanitiser check. 

Mask check. 

Gloves check. 

As the world continues to struggle with the COVID-19 crisis, the challenges have been far-reaching, especially for sectors where physical contact is inevitable. With the threat of a high communicable virus-like coronavirus, business owners have had a huge risk before re-opening their services offline or online. 

The touch-me-not syndrome has never flourished like this before, and the salons cannot work without touch.  

The services which all of us felt essential for us; the government didn’t feel the same. Salons and other beauty services which came under non-essential services were the first ones to close their doors, leaving the industry deeply impacted. However, the lockdown period has witnessed a surge in the online purchasing of DIY beauty products as consumers are trying to maintain their care routine and increasingly looking for options that fit into the parameters of social distancing and isolation. This trend is likely to continue even in the initial months after the lockdown is lifted as it will take time for customers to gain the confidence to resume their regular salon visits. As a result, the 500-billion-dollar global beauty industry with its annual rate of growth continuously pegged between 4% and 5%, is now expected to see a decline of 15%.  

As the lockdown lifted up there were hopes of getting back to normal. However, the new normal is a little different and many things did not remain the same as before. Close physical proximity which is an important aspect of salon work is something that people are a bit apprehensive of until a vaccine is widely available. However, consumers are likely to replace salon services with at-home treatments and getting everything done at their homes until a professional can serve them at a salon.   

The COVID 19 has shifted a lot of things on our digital devices and which saves a lot of energy, money, time and these days people’s lives too. The lockdown does make us realise how important our salon services were to us. People generated content on the topic has been abundant with netizens expressing their concern and lack of grooming in general.   

Brands like L’Oreal and Lakme used this opportunity to engage with their core consumer segments. YouTube and Instagram were the main platforms where people realised that a lot of things can be learned sitting at their homes and which turned out to be fun and successful. As people continue to follow self-isolation, consumers have been relying on at-home products such as natural and home-made facials, lotions, and essential oils to take care of themselves. Topics such as “self-care” and “number of days without a hair wash” have been trending on social media.

During these times, Many salons laid off their workers quickly after the shutdowns, allowing them to apply for unemployment benefits. Lots of salons, unlike the handful of large companies that can afford to, just aren’t flush enough to continue to pay salaries. But for the many manicurists, stylists, braiders, colourists, and barbers who are classified as independent contractors, things are even trickier. But on a positive side, we have also seen a lot of freelancers coming up and showcasing their talents in the pandemic.  

While the beauty & wellness industry has been gradually migrating to digital platforms over the last decade, the current crisis has a catalyst to accelerate this adoption. Online bookings, self-check-ins, automatic payments, and many such features serve to eliminate unnecessary touch-interactions. The Industry is still recovering but now with a better pace because self-care never takes a backseat.