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The shift towards wellness was occurring prior to COVID-19 but has been accelerated by pandemic-related stressors. Mintel COVID-19 Tracker data* reveals that 40% of Canadians have increased the priority they are giving to their mental wellbeing due to the pandemic. As a result, Canadians are seeking methods to care for themselves in a holistic way. One way of achieving this is through beauty and personal self-care. According to Mintel Global Consumer research**, 54% of Canadians agree that using beauty/grooming products makes them feel good about themselves. Furthermore, product innovation has a role to play as half (51%) of Canadian beauty shoppers say they are interested in using products with mood-boosting fragrances***.

Despite all of this, however, as there have been fewer places to go and people to see, beauty and personal care (BPC) shoppers are using fewer products: nearly a third (32%) of BPC shoppers say they are using fewer beauty/personal care products compared to a year ago****. What’s more, nearly two in five (37%) are deprioritizing spending on beauty products as a result of the pandemic.

Meghan Ross, Senior Home & Beauty Analyst at Mintel says:

“Mental health issues among Canadian consumers have been prevalent during the pandemic, as three in five (61%) Canadians say they have experienced a mental health condition in the past 12 months*****. This indicates a strong need for solutions that address the difficulties consumers are increasingly facing and presents opportunities for beauty brands. The connection between looking good and feeling good is one that beauty brands have been making for quite some time but should emphasize now given the current climate. Brands that can authentically ‘grant’ Canadians permission to make time for themselves and perform self-care beauty rituals will be well received.

“However, with many Canadians staying home, beauty expectations have been lowered and a more casual approach to ‘looking good’ has been adopted by many. In order to combat this, brands should remind consumers that taking care of their skin, hair, and makeup is not solely about one’s physical appearance, but can also have positive impacts on self-esteem and mental health.”

Consumers seeking greener, safer alternatives and will pay a premium

According to Mintel research, 29% of Canadian beauty shoppers prefer to purchase clean beauty products and 34% say they would be willing to spend more on a beauty or grooming product that is environmentally friendly. Similarly, 34% of beauty shoppers claim to be more likely to make purchases from brands/retailers that they know are environmentally responsible.

With three-quarters (76%**) of Canadians overall saying they try to act in a way that is not harmful to the environment, demand for healthy and safe products for both the end user and the environment is expanding.

“The desire to make educated and ethical purchase decisions means consumers are raising their expectations for brands when it comes to transparent ingredient sourcing and labelling, and environmentally-friendly packaging. With information easily available online, shoppers are approaching their BPC products with a greater understanding of how their purchases are impacting their health and the health of the planet. However, this desire is not strong enough to overcome other motivations like convenience and budgets for many Canadians, so brands will need to make these greener options accessible and simple in order for them to be more widely adopted,” continued Ross.

Men are embracing the value of self-care

Finally, according to Mintel Global Consumer research**, 46% of Canadians agree that it is important for men to use beauty/grooming products on a daily basis. This is especially true for younger men who are more likely than older men to embrace beauty and personal care and incorporate products into their routines: 36% of men aged 18-34 have purchased facial skincare products in the past year****** compared to 16% of men aged 55+; 27% of 18-34s purchased fragrances (eg perfume, body spray) compared to 15% of those 55+; 14% bought hair colour (eg hair dye, root touch-up) compared to 6%; and 13% bought make-up (eg foundation, mascara) compared to 2%.

Since most men have less experience than women with beauty and personal care categories, there is opportunity for brands to help guide male users along the personal care journey with easy-to-use, straightforward products and services.

“Gender stereotypes are softening and ‘rules’ around what is acceptable for men when it comes to beauty behaviours are dissolving. Self-care has become mainstream for all Canadians, including men. This shift brings good news for the beauty industry since increased openness to self-care among male shoppers provides a greater opportunity for beauty brands to meet these new and emerging market desires,” concluded Ross.

*September 17-27, 2020
**March 2021
***17% of Canadian beauty shoppers who have used beauty products with mood-boosting fragrances and would use again and 34% who have not used, but are interested in trying.
****Sept. 2019 v Sept. 2020
*****Jan.-Dec. 2020
******12 months leading up to Feb. 2021