Margaux Caron
As a Global Beauty Analyst, Margaux works with international clients to future-proof brand strategies and fuel ideation for product innovation. She specialises in Colour Cosmetics and Fragrances.

As Europe braces for colder weather and France enters a second national lockdown, there is an added layer of uncertainty for the retailing and beauty sectors. It is therefore indispensable to take a closer look at the shift in consumer behaviour the pandemic brought along and how brands can innovate in times of crisis.

Clean beauty – made in lab

The visible effects of lockdown on nature and surrounding urban areas have increased consumers’ eco-consciousness, proven by a third of French consumers claiming they have placed a higher priority on the environment since the start of the pandemic. With COVID-19 equally spurring hygiene concerns, French consumers are ready to use ingredients of natural origins and modified in-lab to increase safety, performance and sustainability. Beauty brands can tap into this shift by developing beauty innovations with added functional benefits. Ingredients that are usually found in the health department, such as vitamins and supplements, bear great potential for holistic beauty products that tap into a heightened concern over health and well-being, such as sleep quality or stress relief.

Milk Makeup‘s Overnight Lip Mask uses melatonin, usually found in VMS products, to promote sleep

Re-inventing beauty retailing

Lockdown has taken a big toll on Europe’s retail landscape, as many stores deemed as non-essential had to close for a specific period of time. Yet, according to Mintel research, many French and European consumers are still trying to reduce the time spent in stores and feel uncomfortable handling or touching products in-store. For beauty brands, who rely heavily on in-store trialling, exploring safe ‘no contact concepts’ through new single-use sampling techniques and ‘phygital’ tools such as smart mirrors, motion-activated dispensers and digital testing stations are key. With a second national lockdown during winter, Mintel expects that the combination of live streaming and e-commerce will give new rise to beauty influencers and beauty online purchases.

Shiseido‘s Foundation Bar, global flagship store, Ginza

Beauty innovation for home-based consumers

COVID-19 has not only taken a toll on the economic landscape, but also on consumers’ mental health. While some were struggling with furlough, others were left juggling working from home and home-schooling, directing public awareness to both physical and mental health. As many spas and salons had to close their doors earlier this spring, consumers have been increasingly looking for at-home treatments with salon-like results to pamper themselves. From Mintel’s perspective, catering both for self-care and bringing salon treatments to the home will find success and integrate into those new ‘home-bound’ lifestyles we are all still adapting to.

Peace Out Wrinkles Self-Dissolving Microneedling Patches allow the retinol and peptides contained in the patch to penetrate deeper in the areas where they are applied.

What we think

Moving onwards, each and every sector has to embrace these unprecedented times by closely observing the ever shifting consumer behaviour. By developing new sustainability and safety concepts, as well as innovative formats for new at-home experiences, beauty brands will be prepared for the ‘next normal’.

If you are already a client and are interested to hear more about this research, please get in touch with your Account Manager. If you are not a Mintel client, you can reach out to our team here.