‘Unprecedented times’ is the slogan of the decade that we are all growing to hate. However, there is no denying that the stark impact COVID has had on many businesses will direct business development strategies for the next several years.
Before 2020, the beauty industry was booming at an astronomical rate, worth just over $530 billion worldwide*. A sign of the times, beauty grew in the ever-evolving social media climate with an increasing availability to know about the latest products and trends quicker than ever before, as well a growing consumer base that is more educated to beauty products in comparison to earlier decades. Trade secrets, such as strobing and contouring which were kept backstage, or at a rate $30 in a book by Kevyn Aucoin, are now available at our fingertips, willing us to endless buy more and explore more beauty.
Beauty now is keeping yourself and your mind healthy in these ‘unprecedented times’.
However, during the pandemic, many of us have witnessed a particular shift on Instagram, and among influencers who live there. While our feeds were once a welcomed daydream of images for inspiration and aspiration, life became so suddenly real and the images and accounts that had been telling us to ‘buy this and that’ quickly became frivolous and meaningless. Influencing, which had been a significant component to beauty’s boom, fell. As 2020 has gone on, movements for justice, such as BLM and political discourse across the world, have been hinged on the use of Instagram and social media to spread the word. Ultimately, developing more of our feeds to become a platform for good, rather than comparison and e-commerce.
So as far as beauty has been concerned, with many of our beauty regimes, such as getting our hair done, suddenly banned due to lockdown, beauty in 2020 has gone on to become less of a need to change your look to fit in, and instead become about survival. Beauty now is keeping yourself and your mind healthy in these ‘unprecedented times’.
With such a dynamic shift in the industry beauty and in such a short time, we spoke to Emma Chiu, Global Director at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. What should we expect from this once booming industry, and whether the movement towards self-care is here to stay or a function of the moment to keep an industry that once depended on comparison to stay alive?
Emma and her team analyze the many habits of shoppers, alongside popular culture, and the general zeitgeist to collaborate with brands to make them ‘future-proof. They ‘distil the cultural landscape’ to see how this implicates a brands perception in the public-eye and how always to stay afloat no matter how life changes. As their slogan on their website states, they ‘Find Value in the 2020 reset.”
Looking back at 2019, for example, a particular insight Emma had seen in the beauty industry before the impact of COVID was paying close attention to digital innovation in the beauty industry.
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Words and Interview by Hayley Barnes, Design by Kate Bull