The beauty industry on a global scale is absolutely massive, generating over $500 billion in sales a year and responsible for millions of jobs that operate in countless sectors from every corner of the planet. The industry encompasses a wide array of products and services from hair and skin care, cosmetics, perfumes, colognes, oral hygiene, salons, barber shops, educational programs, massage therapists, nail technicians, etc. It’s a vast umbrella of EVERY product and service that is designed and dedicated to helping us define ourselves as individuals.
Beauty just isn’t big business however, it’s a concept that has always remained true to our heart… Beauty has inspired the greatest poets, artists, composers, writers, and has been crucial to our advancement as a species. It’s our recognition in the beauty of all things that drives our curiosity to understand the world we live in. Humans have always been visual and social creatures that have been preoccupied by beauty for thousands of years. The world of beauty in a sense is shaped by an evolving society that only seems to move faster as time progresses. Beauty as a result is ingrained in our culture for thousands of years; it’s clear that the importance of beauty isn’t going anywhere.
Interactive map of confirmed Covid-19 cases via Our World in Data below:
The beauty industry virtually revamps itself every few years and it’s adaptation to change is quite amazing. In years past, brick and mortar retail and catalogs were commonplace. The customer in today’s world is connected, smarter, well informed, loves convenience, impervious to advertising, and operates in digital spaces. As a result, every industry has had no choice but to adapt and cater to its customers or shut the doors. Sadly, we are seeing evidence of this change more frequent than not; especially the makeup industry.
You might be surprised to learn that 182 of the most recognized beauty brands fall under the massive umbrellas of seven huge holding companies. The mighty seven — Estée Lauder Companies, L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Shiseido, Johnson and Johnson, and Coty — employ thousands of people around the world and make billions of dollars in revenue every year. They also are responsible for controlling advertising and the way we all think about beauty every day.
In retrospect, the beauty industry has always shown consistent growth and big data has reflected growth for decades to come. The industry as a whole has been impacted and disrupted from every angle… technology, shifts in trends, retail vs online, and even mergers and acquisitions. Time and again, the power of the beauty industry comes out a winner; even demonstrating it’s resistance to major economic downturns such as Wars and countless recessions. Even at a time when people were spending less and a plethora of industries were crippled — The World of Beauty Remained Strong. 2019 was a strong year for industry growth and predictions for 2020 and beyond were poised for major growth.
2019 was actually dubbed the ‘Year of Sustainability,’ where many industries got serious about their environmental impact. The beauty industry put a greater emphasis on recycled packaging, while buzzwords such as ‘green,’ ‘clean’ and ‘vegan’ ingredients became the go-to. Just as sustainability is now woven into brands’ priorities, 2020 was to be the year that gave diversity equal attention — Something that would pave the way for a more inclusive beauty industry.
That was all about to change drastically in ways no-one predicted — by an invisible enemy known as the Coronavirus (Covid-19). The world came to a crawl when COVID-19 Coronavirus circled the planet causing a pandemic to the likes our generation has never experienced. The virus changed EVERYTHING from the way we live, shop, travel, and even how we interact with one another. Let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives. The world’s best medical professionals are racing to create a vaccine and we as individuals are essentially forced to wait. Needless to say, it’s not over quite yet. The strongest industries in every Country were impacted almost overnight and were followed by massive layoffs. Our world’s youth was kept from their schooling and families were on lockdown. In addition to such, the world’s supply chains became non-functional and empty store shelves reflected it. Our generation is in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and we have no choice but to strive forward.
The resilient and adaptable beauty industry is now being tested (AGAIN) in these times of major unpredictability; operating in a world that feels its at war. Many wondered how the beauty industry would adapt, operate, thrive, and not crumble completely. Consulting firm McKinsey has estimated that this year’s global revenue for the beauty industry could be harmed by 30 percent; a big hit! Per McKinsey, “Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but there is little debate when it comes to the long-term attractiveness of the global beauty industry. Not only has it grown steadily, it has created generations of loyal consumers. During the 2008 financial crisis, spending in the industry only fell slightly and fully bounced back by 2010 (Exhibit 1 Below).
Our medical establishments were grossly unprepared and major shortages in Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for the front line workers was a problem at square one. Companies around the globe started coming forward with assistance offerings with the fashion industry companies starting the trend.
For example — The French fashion conglomerate, LVMH stepped up to the plate and announced that it’s perfume and makeup factories for fashion brands (Givenchy, Christian Dior, and Guerlain) would be converted to produce hydroalcoholic gel to prevent the shortage of hand sanitizer. In addition, a number of brands, such as Dolce & Gabbana and Armani, have made large donations to organizations dedicated to the fight against COVID-19. Ralph Lauren produced 250,000 masks and 25,000 gowns, Prada produced 80,000 medical overalls and 110,000 masks, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga produced face masks at their French workshops, and Armani announced that it would be converting all four of its Italian production sites to make single-use medical overalls for healthcare workers. These acts are amazing and the effort has not gone unnoticed.
As millions of beauty brands and professionals are suffering from a huge disruption due to the coronavirus, they are seeking solace in each other. From attending virtual events to creating communities on social media platforms to share inspiration and hope, the beauty industry is coming together to provide support, empathy, and guidance for everyone affected. We are all learning day to day and doing rather well with all things considered.
In the face of the pandemic, beauty brands have been forced to adapt to a world where their consumers spend most of their time at home. The future of the beauty world seems to be simpler as values are being redefined. Products that consumers truly want for their unique value proposition will be reintroduced gradually as we slowly build a new normal. But COVID-19 is set to give birth to a whole new category: antibacterial beauty. Clean Beauty seems to be evolving to ‘Safe Beauty’. The coronavirus has dramatically changed the future of beauty retailing going forward. As consumers look to the category with a fresh perspective — there will be increased activity around ingredients that boost health, on administering contactless sampling and from emerging categories addressing new problems. Safe Beauty products may just win in the end and there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
Speaking of Safe Beauty… our company, Sanitation Conversation™ was launched pre-COVID but we like to think that our offering of Health Grade Sanitation Training & Certification for Makeup Artists is our way of contributing. Especially now, we are all hyper-aware of the importance of Sanitation and Cleanliness. Sanitation Conversation™ began as a movement and quickly became a comprehensive solution to poor and often dangerous sanitation practices among makeup artists and beauty retailers.
We like to think our company DNA is designed to build awareness around the
importance of proper sanitation practices within the makeup industry!
In all facets of makeup, it seems as though beauty comes before health. Oftentimes, you’ll find artists apply makeup to a consumer and use that same brush to try the foundation on another consumer. Artists are not aware that there are bacteria that live on there, mucus membranes, blood-borne pathogens, and so it really doesn’t matter which area of the industry you take a look at. There is no sanitation standard, until now. Through science and innovation, Sanitation Conversation can help protect your reputation and your clients by training and certifying you on how to improve your sanitation protocols and mitigate infectious diseases.
At the end of the day, the future of the beauty industry is uncertain. There’s no telling how consumers will actually shop for makeup and skin care once the pandemic ends. In the midst of this chaos, we’ve learned that the beauty industry is not only creative, but it is super resilient. From helping to mass produce much-needed hand sanitizer and soaps to providing online guidance for each other as well as clients, the beauty industry is learning new and improved ways to function (and flourish) during this crisis. The industry has demonstrated its strength and we will bounce back eventually.
It’s time to shine a brighter light on the Sanitation Conversation™ Movement — How will you make an impact?
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