The almost global temporary closure of beauty salons and cosmetic stores due to the Covid-19 pandemic did not impact all beauty categories the same way. While perfumes and makeup generally suffered more than others, skin care products were less impacted and gained market shares.

Contrary to the global trend

"In the United States and in some European countries, the nail category benefited from Covid-19," explains Fernanda Soro, LATAM marketing manager at Sensient Technologies.

Fernanda Soro, LATAM marketing manager, Sensient

Fernanda Soro, LATAM marketing manager, Sensient

Referring to recent media reports, Fernanda Soro says figures are impressive. "During the first week of the lockdown, British women bought 18% more nail polish than they usually do. Sales of bases and topcoats were even higher,” she highlights.

According to McKinsey, the nails category was one of the main winners in March and April 2020 in the United States, in particular in the "Do it yourself" (DIY) segment. Compared to the same period in 2019, sales increased by more than 200%.

"Based on this information, it was believed that the nail category could follow an identical trajectory in Brazil, or at least that it would remain stagnant during the pandemic. But, unfortunately, that did not happen,” laments Soro.

A fall of 17% compared to 2020

GlobalData, which has been updating its forecasts for the Brazilian cosmetics market every 15 days, since the very beginning of the pandemic, now expects a sharp drop in sales for the nail care category in 2020. According to the research company, the market could drop by -17% compared to last year. Before the pandemic, the average scenario predicted sales of nail products to grow by 3% in Brazil.

"This serves as a warning. We have to be more and more creative to try to reverse this figure,” says Fernanda Soro.

According to her, several reasons can explain the differences between the Brazil and other countries regarding nail care sales. "At the start of the crisis, we thought that following the international example, Brazilian consumers would buy nail varnishes online and would have their nails done at home. Unfortunately, it did not happen like that.” Brazilian consumers are not as comfortable as one might think with online shopping, they are suspicious about the quality of service and are reluctant to record their personal data on the internet.

The recession in Brazil is also mentioned among the possible causes. "The entire world has been affected by the Covid-19 epidemic. But the situation here is even worse. Our unemployment rate was already huge and we are still facing a political crisis,” she adds.

Strong recovery expected

However, Fernanda Soro remains confident and expects a gradual recovery of Brazil’s nail market. According to GlobalData figures, the category is expected to grow by 3.9% per year on average by 2024, the fastest growth rate among all decorative cosmetics. “When our lives return to normal, the category will return to a robust growth. Brazilian women like to go to their beauty salon every week, it’s part of our culture. It is a moment of relaxation and social relationships. You feel good with your nails done, it improves your self-esteem," she concludes.