Courageous beauty: Self-care and consumer trends post COVID-19

Courageous beauty: Self-care and consumer trends post COVID-19

I am writing this blog in the midst of the silence and calm that were previously unthinkable in my city. Bogotá is located in the middle of the Andes and like almost all the cities in the world, we are immersed in the quarantine period. The towering green mountains and the completely clean sky make me think that we have to start imagining how the post-COVID era will be like and how the cosmetic industry must prepare and anticipate the new trends and consumer behaviours.

Healthy is the new luxury: Social isolation impacts people’s mental health and physical condition. Social distancing is required to avoid infection. But loneliness can also make us sick due to confinement, the change of routines and the reduction of social and physical contact. There are already many newspaper reports about increases in anxiety and depression symptoms in the population and also about weight gain and sedentary lifestyle. Recently, La Razón, a Spanish newspaper, indicated that, during the pandemic, people can gain between 3 and 5 kg. On the other hand, InfoSalus indicates that obesity increases the risk of complications from COVID-19, something that is already well known in most countries. It also presents another interesting statistic: since COVID-19 more than half of the population in New Orleans became overweight and the death rate is double that of New York.

These changes represent an opportunity for the development and use of products with concepts of aromatherapy, calm and relaxation, which help and complement activities such as yoga, exercise and meditation. The slimming category will also grow. The pyramid of human needs, created by Abraham Maslow in 1943, present at the bottom, the basic needs of people, such as food and security. Once people in different cities are able to cover basic products and services, they focus on items and services that will help them get through the period of isolation. The Contentsquare agency presents an interesting statistic that indicates transactions in companies that sell sporting goods increased by 30% in the last week.

Personal care is the New Hero: We are seeing huge growth in the development and sale of products for personal cleaning and sanitation in all countries, such as alcohol gels, disinfectants, body wash, soaps, hair products, etc. This implies that the more frequent hand and body washing behaviour can affect the health of the skin, so one of the categories that will also have an important development is hand care. The Colombian newspaper El Tiempo presented new consumer data in March: purchasing of hand soap increased by 35%, wet wipes by 44%, facial tissues by 32% and toilet paper by 26%. Contentsquare indicates that transactions on cosmetic sites increased the week before the publication by 33% and we see how many cosmetic companies are redefining their offer by focusing on basic goods such as soap and hand products.

Homexperience: Home is the new spa. The creativity is in its maximum expression and thanks to applications and technology we are experiencing a boom in virtual consultancies and tutorials for nail care, hand hydration, hair treatment and facial masks. We are also seeing a great offer of mobile apps for yoga, meditation and relaxation and wellbeing products delivered to your home. The America Retail website indicates the growing popularity of video conferencing, e-meetings, selfies and live streaming is reflected in more use of makeup and eye care products. On Sina Weibo, a Chinese social networking site similar to Facebook indicates that the topic “essential makeup” had more than 14,000 reviews and 8.9 million visits until February 20. CNN Business noted on April 17 that demand for beauty products in London appears to be holding up, despite millions of consumers not leaving home.

R-OH-Mantic: refers to the alcohol boom in various formats such as gels, sprays, mist, essences, serums, in soft textures and aromas that invite calm. This is the discovery of Romanticol.

Moxi: The company Dilligent Robotics has created a nurse robot to help in hospitals, so the risk of infection for staff decreases.

Bye bye cash: The end of cash is near. This is not new, but the process will now be accelerated. Using a credit card is more hygienic. Robotization and digitization are ongoing processes that will quickly develop after coronavirus. The use of machines and AI systems will be the best option. Banks expect a significant increase in operations made without contact. In Spain, it’s estimated that 90% of payment terminals are already equipped with this technology. In fact, during the two weeks after the state of alarm decree in the country, the Spanish made 68% fewer transactions in cash.

House coaching: This trend mixes interior design with therapeutic techniques. It consists in creating a balanced, sustainable and energy-charged home. The scents of wellbeing are starting to be relevant in the pandemic. Currently, 40% of the population is more likely to suffer from some type of mental health-related problem, and the numbers of depression-related illnesses are going to double.

Virome: The human virome is the total collection of viruses that people have. Can the virome be one of the next targets of the cosmetic industry? We are starting to see claims of efficacy of certain molecules against virus strains.

Rappibots: Rappi is a Colombian company that provides home delivery service and it’s present in 7 countries in Latin America. In April, a test began in Medellin to deliver products with robots and thus avoid contact between people. A new trend is beginning that will help the distribution of cosmetics.

Contactless beauty: The experience in retail will change because as consumers we do not want to interact with products that have contact with people. Sampling and testers are going to be reinvented so we will see innovations in packaging for retail and also for personal use. Forbes has recently stated that while most stores and businesses are closed, contactless environments are a priority. Some cosmetic brands are also identifying that the “handmade” is a claim that begins to decrease.

Solubags: Water-soluble bags. The Chilean company Solubag has created a 100% environmentally friendly material, biodegradable and soluble in water in minutes.

Two meters is the new normal: How will we shop in the post-COVID era? The evolution of purchasing habits is interesting. In the 90s and 2000s, it was usual to fill our bags in supermarkets and store food in our homes for weeks. With the crisis of 2009/2010, we saw a boom in private labels, white brands and low-cost stores. In Colombia, it’s common to find low-cost stores in exclusive sectors in the main cities and next to luxury product stores.

Now we must imagine how shopping will be like in the post-COVID era in traditional places in the world such as Oxford Street, Les Champs Elysées, the Fifth Avenue, Calle 85, Cidade Jardim and also in the malls and common stores in our cities.

This is my prediction: no product testers, stores will have capacity control and we will live an explosion of web technology. We are going to experience a new world in packaging. Retail will reinvent itself when stores reopen and they will strive to become accredited as safe sites. We will do our best to keep the two meters distance.

Psycobeauty: Consumers are having a growing interest in claims related to immunity, health, wellness, yoga, ayurveda, cognitive health, meditation, de-stress, sleeping…

Cosmetoparties: The new trend is to invite friends and WhatsApp groups to virtual meetings for sharing tips and secrets of facial mask applications, hair treatments, yoga, exercises, etc.

Roboteachers: The company Asimov Robotics uses robots to carry out educational campaigns, clean and disinfect surfaces, and even deliver masks and samples of sanitizing products to the population. Even one of the robots is wearing masks.

Hands, hands and hands… Hands are one of the main vehicles for virus transmission and that is why it’s necessary to use sanitizers several times a day. For this reason, there is an exponential growth in products for the hands, such as liquid soaps, hydrating masks, gloves with a repairing effect, products for cleaning hands without the use of water, creams, serums and many other formats. In March, Time magazine published an article where Dr Mary Stevenson, assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health, explains that she can wash her hands up to 75 times a day. The process is supposed to take 20 seconds, but usually, people don’t get to this time. These habits can lead to dry and sensitive skin problems.

Bye global, hello local: The coronavirus will promote forms of transport that are less polluting. The post-coronavirus world will boost the consumption of local products and national production in our regions. The global supply chain will have a complete reinvention.

Singlemetics: The ratio of single and divorced people living alone is growing due to isolation and also due to the less social contact we will have in the future. Generally, these people live in small spaces and we will see a trend of products focused on their needs and wellbeing. This is a segment that will contribute significantly to the economic recovery.

I hope that when you read this article, the situation is beginning to normalize in our countries. The new economic model must take into account three essential factors: health, wellbeing and our relationship with the planet. The emerging and unprecedented trends that we are seeing and that will come after overcoming the effects of the coronavirus also represent opportunities for the cosmetic industry. On the other hand, the economic power of the consumer is also changing. The new beauty is courageous. Crises are opportunities. It’s time to reinvent the cosmetic industry!

Guest post by: John Jimenez

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John Jiménez is a pharmacist from National University of Colombia with a master's in sustainable development and specialization studies in marketing, cosmetic science and neuromarketing. He has 30 publications in scientific journals and a book chapter in cosmetic formulation. He has been the recipient of the Maison G. de Navarre Prize (IFSCC USA 2004), Henry Maso Award (IFSCC USA 2016) and best scientific papers at Colamiqc Ecuador 2009, Colamiqc Brazil 2013 and Farmacosmética Colombia 2014. He also has been a speaker at various international conferences in Europe and Latin America. Since 2019, he has written a trends column for In-Cosmetics connect, Since 2013 a trends column for Cosmetics & Toiletries Brazil and since 2020, a column on neuromarketing for Eurocosmetics. He also has authored and co-authored articles and served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine. Jiménez additionally served as president of Accytec Bogotá (2017-2019). He joined Belcorp in 2005 and currently is Senior Researcher for skin care, suncare and personal care categories. Before joining Belcorp, he worked in Laboratorios Esko, Whitehall AH Robins and Fresenius Medical Care in Colombia.

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