PODCAST: A global beauty view on COVID-19 – business resilience, learnings so far and future strategies

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Coronavirus COVID-19 beauty impact, resilience and trends to consider beyond 2020 from CosmeticsDesign Editors

Related tags COVID-19 Consumer trends retail beauty tech Innovation financial results 2020

The beauty and personal care world has faced significant upheaval on a global scale during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but it has also emerged as resilient and innovative despite consumer and retail trends morphing at great speed.

Almost 12 months on from the initial COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019, what is industry facing today?

In this exclusive podcast, Kacey Culliney, editor of CosmeticsDesign-Europe; Deanna Utroske, editor of CosmeticsDesign; and Amanda Lim, editor of CosmeticsDesign-Asia, meet again to reflect on how far the global beauty and personal care industry has come in recent months and what the future, albeit uncertain, might hold.

Our three editors first met in April​ to discuss the initial market impact and industry response to COVID-19. Seven months on, plenty has happened and we now have a much better sense on how this ongoing pandemic has and will have impacted 2020.

EMEA ‘highs and lows’, North America still ‘dealing with COVID-19’ and APAC a ‘mixed bag’

The last six months across the EMEA had seen “highs and lows”​ for the beauty category, and as fresh lockdowns started to be implemented, Culliney said the last few months of some “new normality”​ may change again. Financially, however, many beauty and personal care players were faring well, with sales lifts reported by many in recent months

North America was still “very much dealing with COVID-19”,​ according to Utroske, who said cases were rising in nearly every state daily and there remained widespread packaging and polymer shortages and/or supply delays which was proving problematic for industry. Despite this, she said the phenomenon of sales lifting across categories could also be seen in North America and industry was, overall proving resilient. “Even though there are all these delays and challenges and economic disruptions, the industry is really doing an impressive job of coordinating and collaborating to keep things moving ahead, so it’s quite promising,”​ she said.

Asia-Pacific continued to present a “mixed bag”,​ according to Lim, with China still “leading the charge”​ in terms of COVID-19 stability. An interesting, and somewhat surprising, business trend across the region, she said, was that brands were continuing to expand into the region – Oribe Hair Care being just one example, along with many indie brands that seemed to be “faring quite well”​ with some moving into physical retail gaps. There were also plenty of great recent beauty tech stories across APAC, including from Lancôme and SkinCeuticals. “Things are not as booming as pre-COVID, but all is not lost – there’s still a lot of potential,”​ she said.

COVID-19 beauty innovation, retail strategies and accelerated consumer trends

Our podcast goes on to highlight some of the continued innovations, business collaborations and sustainable visions maintained by the beauty sector, despite COVID-19, and also dig into some of the important consumer trends accelerated by the pandemic. We also take time to consider some of the key learnings and how these can be applied as industry moves forward into a continuing uncertain environment.

You can listen to the podcast above or directly via Apply Podcasts.

This podcast was recorded on November 2, 2020.

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