Beauty No longer Luxury Or Occasion Driven: Shriti Malhotra

Despite the economic magnitude of the lockdown, the beauty industry may have proven to be reasonably resilient with new emerging normal.


The new normal for the beauty industry needs to be looked upon from two perspectives.

Beauty is about Self Expression:  

Firstly, Beauty is no longer a luxury or occasion-driven purchase. Beauty is about self-expression. Social media, digital access, and explosion in beauty content have transformed beauty through heightened awareness of ingredients, trending products, beauty regimes, DIYs, new D2C brands, Innovative products, digital shopping platforms, beauty tech, and virtual reality.

Simply said, in the last few years, the beauty industry has turned around on its head. Millennials & Gen-Z are driving the change.  

The industry was poised on the cusp of a massive transformation and then pandemic hit us globally which brings us to the second and most resounding impact on Beauty.

Digital Transformation and Online Exploration:

COVID-19 fundamentally changed the approach towards beauty, setting in a new normal. Skin & body health, hair care, hygiene, and safety have become the primary drivers. Skincare has grown manifold. Hand & Feet has re-emerged. Lack of accessibility to beauty stores led to beauty exploration on the internet and the explosion of DIY and Homecare remedies. This outburst resulted in self-care and pampering trends and erratic demands on ‘care’ ingredients. Stay-at-home &face masking saw a decline in face makeup but increased the sale of Eye makeup. Many of the changes like Skincare, Haircare, Body Care will be more or less permanent while Makeup will bounce back in festive and wedding seasons.

On the behavioural front, customers are seeking easier and more personalized ways to discover, evaluate and purchase beauty products online. Customers are opting for Virtual Try on tools, Video Consultations, WhatsApp Shopping, On-call Shopping, and Home delivery. Research during this period showed the convenience of having products delivered quickly and cheaply, direct to consumers’ front doors, as hugely appealing,”

The resurgence of Mass and Masstige:

The new normal also shows the growing importance of affordability and value for money as consumers are faced with an uncertain future with job losses and a decline in disposable income. Brands that are mass and masstige will gain significantly if they deliver superior ingredients, product performance, and efficacy. We have also seen the emergence of skin minimalism and multipurpose products at affordable prices.

In-store shopping is down but not out: 

Despite the economic magnitude of the lockdown, the beauty industry may have proven to be reasonably resilient with new emerging normal.

Even with digital transformation, there is return and recovery seen at the brick & mortar stores. Retail stores are coming back and winning for various reasons. The millennials and Gen Z are precise about their needs, prefer to buy personal care in stores, prefer to touch and smell products before they purchase. Consumers’ desire to return to stores, following months of restrictions and locked down cities, shows that retail is still the preferred place to buy beauty, and it is not going to go down without a fight. 

However, there are a lot of games in Digital Strategy and Technology. The next evolution is using technology to deliver data and enrich it with insights. It will be crucial for beauty retailers to examine what consumers want from their retail experience and how self-care brands can capitalize on effective marketing campaigns that offer a certain experience in-store and brand-building and awareness online.”

Sustainability and Purpose:

There has been a growing emergence of a new brand of consumers who are highly educated, aware of product, ingredients and actively seek beauty brands providing all-round skincare along with reflecting the brand’s core identity. They are choosing brands complementary to who they are and evaluating brands on issues related to sustainability, inclusivity, adaptability, empathy, and relevance. They actively look for beauty products with purpose, value for money, and are driven by the identity of a brand while making it non-negotiable to oversee the impact on the environment as well as society.  

The Body Shop owns these values at its core. Being a disruptive beauty brandit advocates for Profit with Principles while being accessible and affordable. In these times of great social and environmental inequity, brands with purpose have the ability to bring change. Working towards bringing activism around waste management, recycling, sustainability, and communities will be a top priority in line with the purpose-driven mission to fight for a fairer and more beautiful world.

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