Conducted at the end of the initial lockdown periods in June 2020 and then on the cusp of the second pandemic wave in October and November 2020, the study surveyed 9,600 beauty and home care consumers in four major markets: Brazil, China, France, and the United States. The importance of the economic and social shock that hit consumers appeared clearly.

A deep shock

Mood states analysis clearly demonstrate the rising levels of consumer anxiety, with 29% of consumers in a mindset dominated by fear. Facemasks have become the physical expression of consumers’ disrupted routines and mindsets. For instance, 50% of Americans feel that they are not being adequately protected. 78% of Brazilians are worried about their loved ones.

As consumers feared for their financial stability, many reduced their spending: 30% of disposable income was being saved in the US and France, while 40% of Chinese consumers postponed large purchases.

These figures, however, point to the possibility of a dynamic recovery, provided that governments be show themselves able of restoring consumer confidence. “Beauty consumption will gradually increase in the second half of the year and into 2022 if pandemic conditions ease thanks to widespread vaccination campaigns,” says Aptar in a statement.

New consumer profiles

Such a social and economic turmoil has led to significant shifts in priorities and to the rise of new consumer profiles.

Our study revealed, for example, that COVID-19 led some consumers to re-evaluate the health of their homes and its impact on their mental wellbeing. That increased anxiety around hygiene and personal well-being is playing out significantly in the Beauty & Personal Care space,” shares Marie Jacquemin, Consumer Studies Manager, Aptar Beauty + Home.

When analyzing how much the needs and expectations of beauty and home care consumers shifted during the pandemic, Aptar discovered a new attitudinal segmentation, articulated around two dimensions - the behavioral intensity and the level of external help that they require from brands.

In beauty and personal care, four consumer profiles came to light:

- For the Unphased, predominantly male, it’s “business as usual”.
- The Survivors, however, have ventured into DIY solutions to solve supply problems or relieve financial constraints.
- While the Anxious [27%] are looking primarily for reassurance and, therefore, expect their trusted brands to provide safe and protective solutions.
- Finally, the younger Reinventors [28%] perceive the pandemic as an opportunity to transform their lifestyle.

Overall, the study revealed heightened consumer concerns around hygiene, effectiveness, and sustainability.

After diving into the key findings, our teams are hard at work on our innovation workstreams to deliver touchless, at home, and antimicrobial solutions for each segment profile. We are particularly inspired by a project we call Scent with Intent which is going to help to reduce stress and anxiety at home. Other multi-functional product innovations aim to offer streamlined solutions for on-the-go consumers,” explains Marco Burigana, Innovation Director, Aptar Beauty + Home.

What’s Next?

Once the crisis is overcome, in 2023 and beyond, Aptar’s research confirms that the major pandemic trends of e-commerce and sustainability will become the norm, while concerns with hygiene, safety, harmlessness, and effectiveness of home care products will have become a reflex for many consumers.

As consumers grapple with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic and evolve their behaviors, we plan to conduct further qualitative research later this year to help fine- tune our development pipelines and further assist our partners,” shares Cécile Abeille, Communications and Digital Marketing Director, Aptar Beauty + Home.