There’s probably no industry that hasn’t faced the wrath of COVID-19. Businesses have been forced to shut due to lack of earnings, owing to the lockdown. Mannerisms and tactics are undergoing shaking changes. One among the many industries is that of makeup. In most major beauty-industry markets, in-store shopping accounted for up to 85 percent of beauty-product purchases prior to the COVID-19 crisis, with some variation by subcategory.
|| Nishica Choudhary
Richa Sharma, owner of Rdiva by Richa Sharma, Salon, Makeup Studio & Academy has two makeover studios and salons. Additionally, she takes, on-location makeup appointments for weddings and shoots. She told us “Whole industry is suffering and we are no different. Flow of customers to Salons is down at least by 60%-70%. Additionally, as all the wedding and social gatherings are off, so makeup bookings are minimal.”
Change at the workplace and work methods have to be brought. The prime focus is customer and staff safety. She has given exhaustive training on hygiene for Covid to all the staff members including adoption of CPC kits, Thermal scanning for customers, sanitization of all booths and stations before and after every service. Additionally, they are taking utmost care to sanitize all our makeup products and brushes before and after every service. Her staff is trained and certified by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) Government of India and Barbicide.
Leading salons such as Lakme, BBlunt, Enrich and Bodycraft are planning a seismic shift in day-to-day operations to inculcate safety measures, as they seek to woo back the fear-enveloped customer amid the coronavirus outbreak. The five-billion-dollar salon industry, which has been under lockdown for eight weeks, anticipates sales to recover only by fourth quarter.
“Post Covid-19, salons will be expected to maintain a high level of hygiene as it is a high-touch industry,” said Sunil Kataria, the chief executive of Godrej Consumer Products (GCPL) which has a 30% stake in salon chain BBlunt. GCPL has advised its partner salons to use one-time-use personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times and disinfect high-touchpoint zones every three hours.
The industry estimates the number of salons in India at 65 lakhs, of which only 30% are registered. Like liquor retailers, salons may see serpentine queues once they reopen. Nonetheless, most organised players expressed no ambition to pursue at-home service model offered by the likes of Urban Clap. The new safety protocol will, however, increase their operating cost, resulting in a price hike and straining the customer wallet amid salary cuts and layoffs.
“Our consumable cost will increase the overall material cost by 30%, thereby increasing the tariff by 8-10%,” Enrich founder Vikram Bhatt said. The salon chain posted Rs 50 lakh in revenue in April through tele-consultations and home delivery of hair and skin care products, compared with Rs 20 crore a year earlier. According to B&WSSC, the beauty industry was growing at 18.6% in pre-Covid times, higher than the international CAGR of 15%. The industry had recently made a representation to the Ministry of Home Affairs to permit reopening of salons stating that the jobs of nearly a crore professionals, two-thirds of which are women, were at stake.
While the beauty industry may be in a relatively stronger position than other consumer categories, 2020 will be one of the worst years it has ever endured. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to accelerate trends that were already shaping the market, such as the rise of the global middle class and the use of e-commerce, rather than mark entirely new ground.
Even before the pandemic, the definition of “beauty” was becoming more global, expansive, and intertwined with individuals’ sense of well-being. The COVID-19 crisis is not likely to change these trends—and in that, there is reason for hope.