Back in April 2020, e-commerce strategy specialist Edge by Ascential said the ongoing COVID-19 crisis had resulted in a seismic shift in shopping habits around the world, with beauty bearing a significant brunt of this customer upheaval. What did beauty look like today after a year that was largely shaped by the ongoing crisis? And how did consumer priorities develop within the category?

“Speed ​​and Convenience” are now a priority in health and beautyIf you

Florence Wright, senior retail analyst at Edge by Ascential, said that consumer needs and behaviors related to convenience have changed noticeably and sustainably due to COVID-19.

“With lockdown restrictions and increasing social distancing, consumers have prioritized speed and convenience over other things like experience or choice,” Wright told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.

On-demand platforms, delivery intermediaries, and digital offerings have all grown sharply across retail in the past year, she said, including health and beauty. Sephora, for example, started on Instacart; L’Oréal Paris now offered a digital makeup line. Shiseido had opened a virtual flagship store in Tokyo and Estee Lauder had introduced an AI-controlled skin care chat box on WhatsApp.

“We can expect this innovation to continue with more retailers and brands and that we can build on it in 2021,” said Wright.

Importantly, many of these digital initiatives are well aligned with current beauty shopping habits, which would likely turn into longer-lasting habits, she said. However, this meant that consumer expectations for “convenience and speed” would also rise, she said.

Beauty retailIf you – “Added value experiences” and a wellness focus If you

Wright said a greater focus on beauty wellness and holistic health, especially value-added services and experiences, would prove especially valuable for retailers and brands this year as well.

“There is a growing need and a growing opportunity for brands to help their retail partners create value-added experiences both in-store and online. … This is an area where retailers will really move forward in 2021 because it can support more profitable revenue streams, ”she said.

But how exactly could the wellness and holistic health trend develop and present itself in beauty in the coming months?

“COVID-19 has brought health and wellbeing to the fore in 2020. Consumers are more proactive about their lifestyle and health, with increasing emphasis on issues such as immunity, hygiene and fitness,” said Wright.

“… As we emerge from COVID-19, we can expect a continued and increased focus on areas like immunity and hygiene, but I would also expect an increased focus on remedies with products and experiences that help consumers calm them down.”

Andrew McDougall, associate director of global beauty and personal care at Mintel, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that the future would include comprehensive wellbeing as an integral part of beauty routines as consumers actively sought products that were viewed as “companions” could.

In particular, products that target “mind-body-spirit connectivity” would thrive, McDougall said.