Way, way back, some 400 years-or-so ago (or December, 2019 to be precise), we predicted what would be big for 2020 and beyond. But at that time, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic had yet to be declared (we’ve sent our crystal ball back, don’t you worry). With that in mind, we’ve revisited our predictions to bring you the over-arching trends that we think will dominate in the months and years to come.
1) Dialling up digital
L’Oréal’s Chief Digital Officer, Lubomira Rochet this week revealed that she thinks that lockdowns and social distancing measures may have changed the way we shop for beauty for good. Certainly, L’Oréal has seen e-commerce sales leap (+53 percent in the first quarter) and is predicting that many will have made the shift to digital permanently.
Indeed, L’Oréal must have been thanking its lucky stars for its prescient purchase of Modiface back in 2018 for coronavirus has elevated those AR-powered try-on tools and smart mirrors from gimmick to must-have. Several other brands and retailers were quick to usher in digital tools to help close sales online – a functionality which will no doubt endure long after the immediate COVID-19 threat has subsided. Jing Daily reports that the pandemic has boosted the livestreaming trend too with sessions on Taobao Live up 110 percent in February 2020, compared to the same period in 2019 and the number of merchants on the platform rising an incredible 719 percent.
With even those retail destinations that have opened transformed into no-touch environments – it’s hardly a leap to suggest that, deprived of the sensorial element of in-person shopping, many will opt to stay home.
2) Safe and sound
Much like the pandemic pressed the fast forward button on digital adoption so too has it sped up the prevailing shift towards clean beauty and wellness. With health a recurring headline, it’s no wonder that product safety and holistic heroes are trending. We expect these two categories to converge so that the self-care comes to the fore among the clean beauty camp, and predict that an element of wellness will penetrate even the most functional of products – hand sanitizer, for example, is already there with many touting scents designed to relax and calm.
Talking self-care, with many cocooned at home for several weeks – albeit not by choice – and, even where restrictions have been relaxed, now reluctant to venture out, our home environment has become more important than ever. Expect sales of home fragrance and premium home care products to spike as people channel their funds into their home where previously they’d spend on their wardrobe.
4) Community spirit
COVID-19 has bought communities together and galvanised whole populations with a common purpose; to defeat the virus. There’s been balcony-based operas and co-ordinated clapping for health care workers not to mention a wealth of philanthropic moves from the beauty industry who have quickly turned their hands to hand sanitizer production, donated care packages to doctors and nurses and generally stepped up. It’s not a leap to suggest that our actions in the time of COVID-19 will be remembered and, with disposable income dropping as recession bites, each cent will be spent with purpose, on brands that resonate and act for the common good.
And whether due to more time, less cash or both, we’ve all had ample time to re-evaluate our priorities (even us beleaguered working parents), which is bound to exacerbate the already emerging trend towards minimalism.