"While some of the more extreme limitations on everyday life seen in 2020 may be rare occurrences going forward, there is no doubt that many aspects of consumer behaviour have shifted for the long-term," writes Lisa Holmes, Global Consumer Insights Expert at Euromonitor, in the market research firm’s Beauty Survey 2020 report. Euromonitor sums up the shifts into three key trends: the rise of online beauty among consumers’ habits, the importance of personal hygiene, especially for hand hygiene, and the rise of the time dedicated to at-home treatments and indulgences.

Comfortable with online shopping

2020 has been characterised by a rapid shift to online shopping. According to findings from Euromonitor’s annual beauty survey - fielded in June and July 2020 - 34% of consumers can now be considered “digital beauty” shoppers, meaning that they purchase hair, skin or colour cosmetic products through online retailers and are influenced by digital media, online user-generated, or expert-generated content when shopping for or using beauty and personal care products.

One the main consequence of the pandemic is that beauty consumers are growing more comfortable buying skin care, hair care and cosmetics without first testing or examining them in person.

E-commerce developments have also helped brands gain access to new markets, thus increasing the competition between heritage and emerging brands. Indeed, online platforms are creating a common digital shelf where global, local, private label and independent brands all compete for consumer attention and spending.

Magnified hygiene habits

While hand washing and sanitising have always played a large role in the daily hygiene habits for most consumers, these habits have been magnified in 2020. Euromonitor’s beauty survey findings show that nearly all consumers (93%) wash their hands at least twice a day and over half of them do so five or more times.

Use rates vary by age group, with the youngest washing their hands less frequently. They also depend on product categories, with alcohol-based disinfectants being especially popular outside the home.

Furthermore, the renewed focus on hand hygiene among global consumers fuelled increased needs for hand care products, particularly lotion and creams to heal dry or chapped skin caused by frequent washing.

Self-care at home

For many consumers in 2020, focus has shifted from out-of-home treats such as salon visits, to ‘self-care’ activities that can be done from the comfort and safety of home,” writes Lisa Holmes.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, many factors have driven the growth of self-care at home: hair salons and beauty parlours closed, concerns about contamination risks, more time available, need to save money.

Even indulgences such as spa treatments have shifted to home environments in 2020. Self-care in the beauty and personal care space is now frequently associated with activities such as hot baths, home manicure and pedicures and self-applied face masks,” adds Holmes.

Euromonitor’s data show that over half of women (55%) paint their nails monthly as a minimum, and that nearly two-thirds of women and one-third of men apply a face mask at home at least monthly.

The most common types of at-home face masks are cream-based, gel and peel-offs, though sheet masks have consistently grown in popularity over the past five years. “In 2015 only 22% of face mask users turned to sheet masks, which jumped to 27% in 2017 and now stands at 35% in 2020,” highlights Holmes.

Even when consumers venture back into salons and spas, at-home self-care habits will persist, forecasts Euromonitor. Indeed, many consumers now seek lower-cost and more convenient options for indulgence.

Read the full report here.