How Covid-19 Impacted The Beauty Industry

How Covid-19 Impacted The Beauty Industry

The Covid-19 pandemic has had rather opposing effects on various areas of the beauty industry. While at-home beauty routines were being kept to more rigorously than ever, beauty businesses – such as salons and nail bars – took a serious hit. Here, we take a look at the impact that Covid-19 has had on the beauty industry as a whole. Along with the positives and negatives of that impact.

How Did The Beauty Industry Do During The Pandemic?

The global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year across the globe. As well as this, the industry also accounts for millions of jobs across the world, directly and indirectly. However, according to one report by McKinsey & Company, around 30% of the beauty industry market was closed during 2020. Thus resulting in redundancies and furloughs to keep the industry afloat until companies could re-open.

Smaller businesses, in particular, have been struggling with the lack of income. When combined with minimal support from the government in the earlier days of the pandemic, this last year has been tough for independent business owners. Rent, business costs and zero income from any sources has meant that many of these businesses have been forced to close their doors permanently.

closed beauty shop
Image credit: Canva

Other beauty sales, be it in-store or online, also began to drop as a result of temporary store closures. With sales declining by 58% in the week ending March 28, 2020, year-over-year, according to McKinsey’s report. It is likely that the initial drop in sales was heavily influenced by many people no longer requiring a set routine or needing to meet cultural standards surrounding beauty. Especially seeing as pubs, clubs, social businesses also being forced to temporarily close, and the populice was told to stay home.

Online Beauty Industry Sales

Sales revenue was heavily impacted throughout 2020. A report by Cosmetics & Toiletries has shown an average revenue loss of around 36% throughout the industry. These losses appear to be in direct relation to the pandemic closures limiting the consumer base in terms of physical in-store shopping experiences. However, the sales that were taking place marked a record rise in the use of online shopping, with online sales spiking by 90%. This rise in online spending will likely have been instrumental in the survival of a wide range of companies throughout 2020.

That being said, some larger companies, such as Primark, were able to be able to run the furlough scheme without the use of any online shopping. Additionally, they were still able to repay the furlough money in full once shops reopened. Whilst online shopping very much kept many businesses afloat, it is still clear that people find joy in the high-street shopping experience, based on the country-wide reaction to shops re-opening.

The Effect on Small Businesses

Businesses such as salons, nail bars, massage parlours, beauticians, barbers, and stylists all took a major hit during the pandemic. With many being forced to temporarily closed all over the world. As a result of these forced closures, some smaller businesses were unable to keep afloat – even with government help – and had to close down. Others were able to keep their heads above water just long enough for re-opening to be allowed.

beauty industry
Image credit: Canva

Now that these small beauty businesses are allowed to re-open, with restrictions, concerns look to the future. After all, it is not simply a case of re-opening, but making back losses. The initial reopening of salons has been met with a tremendous rush of demand. Particularly, hair salons and nail bars, which are seeing a massive influx of workload. As such, many places were fully booked for several months within a week of re-opening.

Interestingly, however, the beauty industry is leaning more toward self-care treatments such as facials, massages, and pedicures. This is likely a result of people taking more time for self-care during the 2020 lockdowns. Therefore, many have looked forward to treating themselves to a professional beauty treatment once restrictions had lifted.

Self Care and At Home Beauty Routines

During the pandemic, a Premise survey showed that on average 66% of women we wearing less make-up during the pandemic. Whilst around 16% of women were actually wearing more make-up. The general reasons for the lack of make-up usage vary. However, the Premise survey recorded that those reasons include masks covering most of their face, social distancing rules, and remote working making face-to-face human contact minimal.

However, the lack of make-up usage did result in many people looking towards a steady skincare beauty routine to provide a sense of structure during those long quarantines. In particular, many say that their routine helps them to maintain focus while allaying their anxieties. Washing your face in the morning upon waking up has long been a typical part of the day for most people. Though with nowhere to go and nothing to do, it’s easy to feel like there’s just no point in trying. However, that’s exactly why it is important to keep up with a routine.

at home beauty routine
Image credit: Canva

Studies have shown that self-care is essential for your mental health and wellbeing. Of course, understanding that self-care is about more than self-indulgence is a big part of this, which we discuss – in detail – in our article on self-care. As such, purchasing health and beauty products helps many to feel pampered and more relaxed. Which is something we all need after a tough year, in which our routines have been thrown out of place.

Sales of Skincare Products

The rise in self-care routines has also meant some major changes for the skincare sector. Some of the starkest differences seen in the skincare beauty world, during the pandemic, include:

  • Skincare products with blue light protection have gone up by 170% according to WebMD.
  • Lipbalm product sales have been plumetting by 48% according to the Premise study.
  • Statista recorded that there has been a 606.4% rise in hand masks, 438.4% rise in hand soap, and 378.5% rise in body wipes.

Expectations for the Future of Self Care

Globe News Wire reported an expected growth rate of 3.6% of the global skincare market. Expecting an overall worth of around $185.5 billion by 2027. This continuous growth of the market shows that the pandemic, whilst certainly being a major glitch in the beauty business, has not stopped its progression.

Where some areas of the market were seriously negatively impacted by the pandemic, namely the cosmetics sector. Other areas may have suffered losses in the short term, but seem to have positive prospects when it comes to future earnings. Specifically, the self-care beauty treatment industry seems to be at the foothills of a major boost in popularity. Social gatherings are also being slowly re-introduced, and some companies such as pubs and restaurants are being allowed to re-open. As a result, we expect it is likely the cosmetics industry will soon have a boost of its own.



Eloise is a lifelong gamer, a studier of Ancient History and Archaeology, a pet care journalist, a new mother of one, and film studies graduate with a desire to pass on her own knowledge so that others may benefit from it.

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