Beauty Industry Trends: Business Survival during the Pandemic

One of the hard-hit industries worldwide is the beauty trade. The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t spare anyone, affecting beauty businesses big and small, from luxury to drugstore brands. While many are in the brink of being obsolete, some have managed to stay afloat by leveraging consumer fears for shorter-term gains, strengthening brand equity through philanthropy, making luxury accessible, and banking on innovative marketing, among other approaches. ACIIID brings you four major trends in the industry that has brought us cosmetics, perfumes, and skin and hair care:


With the absence of the opportunity to personally connect with brands through window-shopping or sampling, consumers are seeking authenticity and empathy. People trust brands that show care by being positive but informed, and also, those that promote learning in an entertaining way. On the contrary, idle or hard sell brands will be seen as self-serving and uncaring.

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LVMH pledges hand sanitizers

The facilities of LVMH or Louis Vuitton which produced fragrances and cosmetics for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy, were used to make bottles of hand sanitizers for health authorities and hospitals, as pledged by LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault.

Dr. Woo gives out to marginalized kids

Photo courtesy of Project Woo through their Instagram Page

Skin care brand Dr. Woo, donated 100% of its profits from sales of its flagship soap brand Daily Gentle Soaps to Baby2baby Charity, a non-profit that provides basic necessities to children living in poverty in the United States.


With strapped wallets from job dismissals and restricted access to travel and shop, many consumers shifted their indulgence toward self-care and wellness. Instead of clothing, footwear, trips to salon and dermatology clinics, buyers are turning to purchasing their own personal care kits or DIY kits. Riding the wave are high-end brands that compete with mid-class prices by offering irresistible bargain deals.

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DIY hair spa by L’Oreal

With the closure of salons, L’Oreal pushed for a wide array of DIY hair color kits that enable consumers to dye their own hair in the latest salon-inspired trends. Their online information drives are complete with tutorials and inspirational references.

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Free delivery 

A number of beauty retailers such as Sephora, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus have made purchasing safer and lighter on the pocket by encouraging online shopping and waiving shipping fees on e-transactions.


With many brick and mortar shops forcefully closed, plus the No Touch Policy for open businesses, the beauty industry was compelled to innovate its e-commerce channels. The quarantine has spawned the creation of virtual assistants, chat support systems or chat groups in social media platforms. In marketing, more content is shared via live-streaming, like influencers doing tutorials and even through interactive phone apps.

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Sephora Virtual Artist
Cosmetics giant Sephora offers the best 3D live experience in buying make-up online through its Sephora Virtual ARTIST. The web and phone application allows users to try-on products virtually, and glam-up with the app’s various filters featuring looks and styles created by Sephora experts.


With consumers starved of shopping during the quarantine, the people who are coming back to the stores are strongly motivated to buy, splurging more than the usual. This way of overcompensation is called Revenge Buying and it’s happening in the US and also in Europe. Meanwhile, the industry is also speculating the occurrence of a classic industry trend called the Lipstick effect, the idea that people will be more willing to buy less costly luxury goods like lipsticks or body care products during a crisis.

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Hermès and pandemic buying

While many establishments are losing business, French luxury brand Hermes in China raked USD 2.7 million sales in a day. This happened after the retailer received a shipment of rare Hermès products to purchase its tableware, shoes, furniture and leather goods.

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Demand for skincare and body care products

Marketing and sales experts are debating if a Lipstick effect will occur once more in the beauty industry with the pandemic. Although market studies in the past have shown correlations in periods of financial distress and sales growth in lipsticks, some analysts doubt the theory due to the quarantine, and work-from-home becoming the norm, eliminating the need to dress up.  According to Rohit Banota, founder of health and beauty branding consultancy StorySaves, instead of the lipsticks rising in sales during this pandemic era, what will gain prominence are skincare or body care products.

Finally, this roundup of trends painting the face of pandemic-mode beauty industry teaches us that in spells of economic instability like the current one, the key to brand survival is adaptation. Those who are quick to do a makeover of their sales and consumer strategies will surely create new niches in the beauty trade and secure popularity beyond the pandemic and even in the new normal.

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