The world is changing faster than we can imagine especially with the onset of the pandemic. Things planned for the future are happening way early. Safety has become a major concern for all consumers. While making a purchase, consumers are driven to the brand that can be trusted. To keep up with the changing consumer expectations, the brands are continuously evolving. The beauty and wellness sector is one such industry where consumer behavior is highly observed and taken care of.
“In terms of consumer behavior, we have learned two things, first, hygiene, and second, preventive health concerns. Today consumers are looking for hygiene everywhere and it has become a priority for every wellness center,” says Dr. Krishna Kumar, Founder, Dr. Kumar’s Lifestyle Centre.
“COVID has shaped the wellness business in a much better way. We have better opportunities and revenue has also increased. Going forward it will be a big boon for wellness and beauty centers,” adds Dheer Gandhi, CFO, Jean Claude Olivier.
People working in metro cities are now working from home and they create plus expect the same service as she had in the metro city
“For Wella, our integration with salon partners has increased significantly. The boom that has happened for us in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities is great. E-commerce plays an important role but beauty salons give them access. That’s why the recovery number for Tier-2 cities is better. Some of the professionals have also gone home. The fastest-growing city I have seen is Guwahati from where a lot of stylists and hairdressers originated from. Metros got impacted more because Tier-1 cities have been working on high rental and high wages business models. This is being worked on and the industry is re-strategizing working models in the metro cities,” asserts Pravesh Saha, National Sales Manager - Indian Subcontinent, Wella.
Evolving Retail Strategies
In an urge to attract more consumers, the brands are adopting various retail strategies like expanding to Tier II and beyond and collaborating with other brands.
Elaborating on the same, Mihir Jain, Sales & Marketing Director, Insight Cosmetics, says, “Most of our products are in the affordable segment. Our SKUs are in the range of Rs 100-250, hence, the sales are maximum in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. But on the contrary, we had the majority of sales from Tier-1 cities. Due to the distributor and retailers' mindset, the expansion in Tier-II and Tier-III cities has been difficult. However, Tier-II and Tier-III cities have emerged as good players due to the online boom. Now due to the 4G, people can access Nykaa and Amazon sitting from the remotest of the village. The penetration has become much easier in Tier-II and Tier-III cities due to the 4G. I believe the next growth in the beauty industry will be from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.”
“I think collaborations are here to stay and they will only grow further. 4-5 years back we used to import a lot of accessories and people used to ask us why we were selling hairbrushes or hair bands? India is not organized when it comes to beauty retail. That’s why the opportunity for collaborations has come up. If there is a skincare product and you are not creating an experience around it then your product will not sell. Today consumers are getting so many options on Instagram and different websites. No company can say that we have everything. That's why they are collaborations with others to cater to the demands of consumers,” adds Samir Srivastav, CEO, Jean Claude Biguine Salon and Spa, India.
The brands are innovating their services, products to offer 360-degree solutions to consumers. Apart from this, the beauty and wellness brands are also training their employees along with educating their consumers.
“We are not just the Salon industry right now. We are a cosmetic company. Our parent company is into organic and product development. We have more than 200 SKUs and 2,600 types of different products. This is the most innovative factor that a cosmetic company has come into salon services to give the services to the end-user. People don’t know how to use the products so this is one of the innovative things that our company thought of. Likewise, we want to collaborate with other cosmetic brands as well. And as access to the internet has made youngsters pay more attention to grooming so the next boom is going to come for an industry very soon,” states Gandhi.
“I have been practicing for the last 18 years. Earlier, looking fancy was considered to be a lifestyle but now people understand the right meaning of lifestyle is associated with health. COVID has definitely created the value of primitive health. As an expert, I believe there is still some confusion about products in the wellness industry because after the COVID lot many companies have ventured into the nutrition and supplement segment. But there are very few professionals who know the right definition, the composition of new dietary designs. Consumers are getting aware but the right knowledge is still not there. We are trying to educate consumers as much as we can,” adds Dr. Krishna Kumar.
How Bright is the Future?
“The makeup industry specifically has grown a lot after COVID. In fact, Karwa Chauth and Diwali were the peak seasons for us. We are doing 120 percent of pre-COVID business which is good. This majorly happened due to a shift in the online space. Now due to COVID, people have started purchasing online whereas earlier makeup was predominately a touch and feel category. With Nykaa’s IPO being such a hit, online is catering to our success recently. We are growing rapidly with a 30 percent growth online,” asserts Jain.