How the UK Beauty Market Evolves during the Pandemic

“How the UK Beauty Market Evolves during the Pandemic” by Alex Tomchenko, CEO of Glambook

The UK’s hair and beauty industry was experiencing a boom period of growth before the pandemic started. According to the National Hair & Beauty Federation statistics, between 2014 and 2019, the number of beauty businesses increased by 73%, and there were 8,677 beauty salons in the UK in 2019. However, the pandemic hit the industry hard since non-essential retail and personal care services had to close during multiple lockdowns. Consequently, the market size is expected to decline 56.4% in 2021.

Beauty and Personal Care Market Overview

The amount spent at the UK’s hairdressers and personal care salons reached £8.6 billion in 2021. Therefore, it is equivalent to £166 yearly spent on beauty treatments per person. Other surveys show ​​the average adult in the UK spends £400.32 per year on hair and beauty products and treatments. In addition, women spend more money on beauty than men, with a yearly average of £454.08. 

Considering the impressive growth rate of the market size in 2020 and new technological trends, there’s hope the industry will quickly recover pre-pandemic levels. For instance, at the end of the lockdown in April 2021, we could notice a 432% spike in bookings of beauty treatments. The relaxation of social distancing restrictions in the UK by the second half of 2021 helped recover a particular market share. Some clients have returned to regular beauty and spa treatments; on the other hand, many of them remain less frequent. Personal care market experts from Mintel admit the industry is shifting towards a hybrid approach to treatments. As a result, it seems like at-home treatment products and mobile therapists will become the new market growth factors. Another significant trend is the growth of self-employed beauty therapists in the UK. In 2020, 65% of professionals working in the beauty segment were independent specialists.

Beaty salon hairwash chairs (Giorgio Traovato/Unsplash)

During the lockdown, government support aimed to help non-essential businesses, including spas and beauty salons. The support packages include the Job Retention Scheme for employed specialists when the government pays up to 80% of wages not exceeding £2,500. Self-employed beauticians and hairdressers ​​could claim up to 80% of three months of their average trading profits for the maximum amount of £7,500. Besides, the government introduced the Bounce Back Loan Scheme with ‘pay as you grow’ payback terms. This support scheme will last from six to ten years. In addition, some business grants are available locally. Salons required to close in England will be eligible for grants up to £3,000 per month, based on the property rateable value.

Technological Revolution in the Beauty Industry

The technologies that allow customers to bring beauty and spa treatments to their homes captured the attention of investors. B2C-booking and on-demand platforms for salon and spa services got 12% and 11% of funding in the industry, respectively. These services offer booking and management tools, portfolio showcase, and online payments.

Customer needs have changed over the last couple of years, too. For example, the beauty service is now expected to be flexible in time. Most clients work full time and get convenient appointments after work hours. Additionally, considering the demographic changes in many European countries, since clients are getting old and may lose mobility, cosmetologists have to provide services at home. Therefore, many beauticians offering mobile services have grown significantly to meet this demand.

Home beauty care product (Christin Hume/Unsplash)

In the case of Glambook, it was developed as an appointment booking and online scheduling software for independent beauty professionals. It allows users to send notifications and meeting reminders to the clients. Online booking tool helps to manage schedules and organise the entire business. Since today, the platform allows a simple cancellation policy; the clients need to think about their health first and cancel the appointment easily if they feel bad. Automated tools help to simplify the interaction with the client and optimise the service cycle time. For instance, hairdressers can ask their clients to come in with clean hair. Last but not least, the software developed by Glambook grows the customer base. Independent beauty professionals can get new clients and keep the business up and running, which is vital during covid restrictions.

What the Future of the Industry Holds

Independent beauty professionals are becoming highly profitable globally. They can earn $30,000 per year at the low end of the range and $150,000-$200,000 at the higher end. In addition, the technological boom caused by the pandemic is allowing the development of new tools for self-employed beauticians and their clientele.

In 2022, the beauty industry will continue to regain pre-pandemic growth rates. It is due to the possible development of industry and the accumulated pent-up demand. Therefore, restrictions are no longer so explicit.

Moreover, the pandemic experience has shown that you can rely on yourself first of all. In the end, with gigabit stock dynamics and a more accessible work style, this direction will gain momentum. Creation and development of own brand, greater autonomy in ways/places, and work schedule should be focused on working in one place flexibly. Like in the modern world of developed influencers and bloggers, independent professionals from various industries—including beauty—will strive to attract their own community and client base.

About the Author

Alex Tomchenko

Alex Tomchenko is the CEO of Glambook, the number one app for independent beauty experts and clients. It allows customers to find the best deal in their city by filtering price, service reviews, and location. In addition, the company partnered with over 10k independent beauty professionals from more than 38 countries. As a result, beauticians and hairdressers can quickly get new clients without paying high commissions to salons.