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The new wave of experiencing ‘Salon at home': Mayank Arya, Co-Founder, Yes Madam

As customers and their behavioural patterns evolve, the beauty and wellness industry in India is evolving, too writes Mayank Arya.

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Amani had an exhausting day at work, reaching home post 9 pm. She had a gig to perform at in the evening the next day, and she had a lot to prepare. However, with her practice for the gig scheduled in the noon, Amani had little to no time to set out for a salon and wait for her turn to avail the services. Moreover, with it being such a big day for her, she did not want to risk getting rushed salon services that may end up ruining her skin instead. So she took out her phone and booked an appointment on an online beauty services platform, scheduling it for the next morning so as to not compromise with her practice before the gig. Now, Amani no longer had to stress about the appearance aspect of her preparation, and she could dedicate all her time and attention to the vocal aspect of it!

Amani’s story strikes a chord with next to every working woman around the country. Given the hectic lifestyles of today with the lines between professional and personal lives gradually blurring, people have little to no time to spend on themselves. Even though the disposable incomes are rising, the time is becoming all the more limited. With grooming no longer being a luxury but a necessity, customers are looking for alternatives that would let them avail salon services without having to travel all the way to one and spend a significant fraction of their day on.

However, as customers and their behavioural patterns evolve, the beauty and wellness industry in India is evolving, too. With the ‘on-demand and hyperlocal’ phenomenon gaining traction across domains like food, travel, medicines, etc., the beauty services segment has warmed up to it as well. In fact, after food, the beauty services segment stands as the second-most lucrative domain for startups to tap this phenomenon in. This is because a woman spends over INR 2000-3000 per month on basic beauty regimes and their busy lifestyles are driving home this concept, both figuratively and literally.

According to a report published by KPMG in 2018, India’s salon industry was projected to reach INR 95,640 crores in 2018-19. Interestingly, the industry has witnessed explosive progression in the last few years, growing about 94% from 2012 to 2017. However, only about 25% of the salon industry is organized, with the rest being scattered all across the country in dingy little neighbourhood parlours found in every locality, be it urban or not. Amidst such a scenario, at-home beauty service startups are playing an instrumental role in formalizing the industry, while simultaneously enhancing the comfort levels for the customers.

Convenience and cost-efficiency

Gone are the days when availing even the most basic facial would require a customer to source and trudge all the way to a parlour, wait for their turn patiently, pay exorbitant prices with no justification, and give a verbal feedback which would often not be heeded seriously. Now, with tech-driven at-home service providers in the space, customers can avail a wide range of beauty services in the comfort of their homes, just with a few clicks on their phones. Moreover, certain players in this segment also have pricing mechanisms that give a clear idea of all the costs involved, and this increase in transparency is also helping make beauty services more pocket-friendly.

Interestingly, even men are emerging as a significant part of this customer base. Owing to the social taboos, a lot of men are hesitant towards availing beauty services even when they wish to. Now, they have all the privacy they need with the salon facilities arriving right at their doorsteps. In essence, the wave of ‘salons at home’ has been a boon for young working women, new mothers, and men, among many more segments of the population. However, customer is not the only beneficiary of this wave.

Employment and empowerment

While at-home beauty services have helped make lives of customers convenient, this vertical is also facilitating better employment as well as entrepreneurship opportunities, especially for women in the blue-collar segment. To put this into perspective, a woman employed at a neighbourhood parlour gets to render a very limited number of services each day, of which she gets a share of the earnings as is deemed by the owner. Whereas, given the organized nature of the at-home salon services providers, beauticians now get to enjoy financial security owing to their typically fixed-commission rate models. Moreover, they get to have a wider set of customer base to cater to.

Most importantly, beauticians now get to have the autonomy that they rightly deserve. They get to choose their working hours and the customers they wish to serve. They have a say in how things work, and do not have to be at the mercy of their employers or the customers. Players in this segment are also striving to improve the quality of services rendered by providing beauticians with adequate training to hone their skills further. In these ways, the wave of at-home salons has not only enhanced customer experience but is also empowering beauticians with job opportunities and the autonomy.

Having made such developments in recent times, the segment of at-home beauty services is now looking for a steady expansion in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Considering the rising levels of smartphone and internet penetration, smaller cities and towns are now emerging as highly lucrative yet largely untapped markets its proliferation. With such a plethora of opportunities on cards, the phenomenon of ‘salons at home’ continues growing notably, bringing convenience in the lives of both customers and beauticians all over the country!


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