UK lockdown could permanently alter beauty shopping habits

As the UK remains under lockdown, more consumers are turning to buying online, but this does not necessarily bode well for beauty

A new survey has found the UK lockdown is posing new threats to the beauty sector, as consumers’ online shopping habits could be permanently altered.

The study, commissioned by global commerce services company PFS, which looks at changes in consumer purchasing behaviour, found three in five shoppers had bought more goods since the lockdown began, with 53% turning to purchasing online.

However, despite a double-digit boost in sales across the nail care category, this could be potentially damaging to the wider beauty sector as 18% of consumers said they had bought fewer cosmetics and luxury goods since the lockdown was imposed three weeks ago.

Instead shoppers have been opting to purchase items online that they would not have considered before, such as pet food and shoes.

“Our research has identified that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown will have a lasting impact on the shopping habits of UK consumers,” said Executive Vice President & General Manager at PFS, Zach Thomann.

“Other than for groceries, people in the UK have had no alternative but to shop online to get what they want, with many consumers looking to online shopping to alleviate boredom.

“Many have liked this new experience and intend to continue to shop this way, even after the lockdown has ended,” he added.

“Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to prepare now for this forced acceleration in the migration to online shopping.”

This was affirmed by more than three quarters of consumers who said they expect to keep shopping online once the lockdown has been lifted.

Keeping customers loyal

PFS also found that loyalty will be defined by brands’ ethics during this unprecedented time.

More than half of shoppers reported they would be less likely to spend money with brands and retailers in future if the company had treated its staff poorly during the pandemic.

A similar amount agreed that they feel greater loyalty to companies that are effectively communicating with them and displaying how they are helping people.

“Those that are there for their customers, staff and the community will be rewarded with brand loyalty and repeat purchasing,” continued Thomann.

“Shoppers will turn away from brands that are not behaving ethically during this period and are likely to vote with their wallets in favour of more trustworthy competitors.”

He also said there was “no excuse” for not being a responsible company at this time.

“It’s vital that business leaders think about the long-term implications of the lockdown and not just the short-term impact of our current restrictions.”

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