Are British beauty addicts prepared for the reopening of brick and mortar beauty stores? According to The NPD Group, 29% of UK consumers would not queue to buy beauty products. The Global information company said results from its COVID-19 Consumer Sentiment Pulse Survey also show that 35% are not prepared to wait when testing a beauty product and 26% would not line up to pay. “6% would be prepared to wait 30 minutes or more to enter the store, test a product and pay. A wait of 10 minutes appears to be the preferred time that would-be shoppers are prepared to wait in line, with 29% happy to wait this long to enter a store, 26% to test a product and 28% to pay,” found the survey.

A part of consumers do expect to return to bricks and mortar stores. Almost one third (32%) would be prepared to shop in town or a city centre, 22% would visit a retail park or shopping centre, and just 15% would shop in a small store. However, shopping from home is the most popular option: 43% said they would visit an online shopping site for their beauty essentials.

Furthermore, shoppers are less inclined to casually shop and browse, as one third of consumers said it is very unlikely they will go shopping without a specific purchase or product in mind.

Keep it clean

Hygiene and social distancing will be paramount. As bricks and mortar stores reopen, the in-store experience need to be adapted, particularly the testing process for products. Indeed, 82% of respondents said they were apprehensive about trying a beauty product in-store. Brands and supplier have therefore already provided makeup or perfume tests compliant with sanitary requirements and are working on touchless solutions.

In addition, 59% buyers expect stores to enforce social distancing during the shopping experience. 54% believe increased hand sanitisation options in retail outlets are a must. 48% believe that disposable testers are essential, and 46% expect that counter staff to wear face coverings.

There is some optimism in the study as nearly 70% of consumers believe their financial situation will remain the same or improve in six months-time. There is greater optimism amongst 18-34 year old’s who felt positive about their financial situation in six months compared to 33% of 35-54 year old’s and 13% in the 55+ age group. Making up for lost time, 25% of consumers plan to purchase prestige beauty to make-up for missed occasions like birthdays for friends and family or to celebrate the end of lockdown.

Visiting bricks and mortar stores is an exciting prospect for many consumers and queuing and social distancing will become the norm. Beauty buyers in our survey are willing to queue but ensuring a short wait time will be critical to benefit the maximum number of people who want to shop,” said Emma Fishwick, account manager, NPD UK Beauty.