As we near to 2021, we discuss how beauty brands coped with the pandemic with a momentous shift in consumer preferences.
Nearing the end of this grave year and the virus still not ceasing to cause havoc, it has been a roller coaster feeling for everyone! Most companies understand that business moves in cycles and one has to be prepared for windfalls as well as emergencies. With the new normal, it’s become extremely important for brands to change their strategies. And this has subsequently led to a great change in communication for beauty brands in India.
“After the stringent lockdown, for a brand like us that sells affordable luxury beauty care products, we are seeing an increasing number of buyers purchasing our products that help to uplift them,” says Mansi Chowdhary, director of beauty brand, Body Cupid. With businesses left grasping at straws, beauty brands pulled out all stops to stay afloat and keep the wheels churning.
With the pandemic changing consumer buying behaviour, beauty brands could be seen offering the consumers a seamless experience. With most of the communication and networking happening in the online space, they came up with online methods for their consumers that replicates the in-store experience.
Mansi notifies us of a challenge, “In-store customers get a more hands-on experience and are able to touch, feel and smell a product, which is not possible in the online space. Also, in some cases, product images and colour may not match the actual, which can affect consumer perception about a brand.”
Many brands have dived into supporting their communities in a variety of ways be it with online yoga or services that put high value to consumer well-being. With the success of setting up a telephonic IVR number, Kama Ayurveda has made their online platform all the more experiential by launching online beauty consultations to address skin, hair and body concerns.
Their in-house experts commented, “To retain existing customers, Kama Ayurveda continues to integrate problem-solution oriented communication of using Ayurvedic beauty to highlight the efficacy of natural products.” It’s a fact that many brands have done extra to retain the existing customers.
Further, Mansi suggests, “I think, brands should look at enhancing the overall customer experience, from awareness to engagement to retail to repeat buying. The online and in-store experience has to be the same – whether it is about product try-outs and testing to offers to different campaigns. Many brands have one strategy for online and other for in-store, but I think in today’s situation this has to change – the consumers should feel connected at the same level with the brand at every channel.”
Evolving Market Base:
Given the situation we find ourselves in, wellness in all its avatars has taken centre stage, allowing for a push in wellness products. Beauty brands are now slowly moving onwards, exceeding their base to wellness products too. Experts at Kama Ayurveda add, “The pandemic has most definitely helped push the focus towards this sector, allowing for larger conversations on how taking care of oneself can have numerous beauty benefits.”
Segments like personal care, skincare and haircare products are seeing more acceptance over makeup as consumers are getting more conscious about personal hygiene and staying clean and healthy. Mansi tells, “The industry is seeing an impressive growth rate and consumers are open to trying out new products, especially those that are nature-based and are environment friendly.”
The market for ayurvedic beauty products has seen a steady rise over the past years. The Ayurvedic beauty industry has gained momentum in a big way. It saw an increased number of people switching from chemical to natural ingredients. However, Kama Ayurveda adds, “Despite the increased use of authentic products, the peak of Ayurvedic Beauty is still very far away.”
Since consumers are now more exposed to their devices because of the current situation, it is easier to grab their eyeballs and introduce new products or beauty concepts and solutions. Consumers are taking notice of new products being added to brand umbrellas. Currently, the consumer mood is set towards exploring news brands and using products that deliver real results.
While there are already big beauty giants in the market that has the capability of introducing new ranges and expanding their customer base easily, Mansi talks about a vital leverage that entrepreneurial brands have over here, “For brands like us it is easier to sustain as we have a leaner and tighter operational structure. Our planning to execution stages is faster because we are smaller in size and have a faster turnaround time. Since we leverage the digital medium in a big way and are available through all the major beauty and lifestyle e-commerce sites, reaching out to consumers across the country is easier. While the business scenario is still tough, but it is the right time to introduce products and sustain those that are already in the market.”
New Brand In Pandemic? :
Entrepreneur Vasundhara Patni launched a new makeup brand – Kiro Beauty in the ongoing pandemic time. The products are made without toxic ingredients keeping the modern Indian lifestyle in mind and are 100% vegan and cruelty-free.
Vasundhara was quick to ascertain her brand amongst the masses and becoming a loved one too. “We were to go for an earlier launch which was impacted by the lockdown. But as soon as it was opened, we resumed our operations and geared for the launch.” The industry relies on a steady stream of launches to keep consumers interested. However, the products debuting today were set in motion well before the pandemic. With the chaos created at the beauty supply chain, the ‘what’s new’ spot seemed to have arrived late.
Kiro had launched during a time when we were longing for makeup products and outings and that, clean beauty is possible with high-performance products – brands that do want to get new products out for the customers are having to get creative and understand the new consumer demand that the pandemic suddenly bought along! Kiro has been launched with a dedicated e-commerce store already. “With the new normal, it has become extremely important for brands to change their strategies, it’s crucial for the brands to engage with the customers virtually and make their presence felt.”, she adds.
Entrepreneurial brands have flexibility on their side. Sourcing natural ingredients locally help them to keep things moving. The small, steady vendor channel that source and deliver actives to the manufacturers help brands keep a check on their cost and doesn’t factor in long transit times and restrictions.
New Beauty Trends:
Makeup trends are always changing, however, with the pandemic, the trends favoured some products than the rest, allowing brands to capitalise and think of newer innovative ways. Beauty experts at brand Auric Beauty commented, “The sales of kohl pencils to eyeliners are sky high! In sync, Auric Beauty is focusing on eye makeup looks which demonstrates to our consumers the usage of lipstick as an eyeshadow and blush-on.”
Earlier lips as a category were the focus, now with wearing a mask it is the eye category that has taken the centre stage. Lipstick sales aside, McKinsey wrote in a May report that the beauty has proven “relatively resilient” thus far, though it still has a long way to go to make up for lost sales when stores were temporarily shuttered early in the pandemic. It also anticipates that the overall global beauty market — currently valued at $500 billion — will decline by 20-30% in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus.
“Auric Beauty has a range that is just right for an everyday makeup look for everyone. With the unprecedented circumstances and a pro-COVID era that’s going to fashion a mask mandate, we are looking at extending our product portfolio in the eye category,” they added.
According to Vogue Business, at-home beauty tools like facial steamers, as well as serums including Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, have been among the top rising beauty trends during the pandemic. Suddenly how-to guides for bold eyes and tips for how to apply mask makeup are popping up everywhere.
Consumers will reportedly be searching for brands or products with a strong alignment to health, safety, immunity, therapeutics and an association with overall wellness. In terms of beauty brands involvement, they should aim to build better virtual experiences while cementing new points of sale within social networks and live-streaming as a long-term process. Overall, there is to be a slower global recovery as a result of a potential second wave.