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The COVID-19 effect on personal care



The COVID-19 effect on personal care

COVID-19 is the biggest disruption we’ve seen in modern times. However we do have past evidence which helps us understand how disruptions work and how they impact our lifesyles and behaviour. Disruption tends to clear obstacles out of the way of emerging trends, accelerating their adoption and creating new norms. Working from home is clearly one of these trends. This now-widespread behaviour has profound impacts on our lives. Alongside reducing commute times and expediting the growth of video conferencing platforms, our personal care routines are another key area of change. Ruth Stephenson, our health and beauty expert, explains more.


If you work from home at least once per week you will have 11 fewer personal care occasions per week. Extrapolated out to the large swathes of the public now working from home, you can see how this adds up to a huge effect on how, when and why we use health and beauty products.

In addition, a quarter of all health and beauty occasions rely on the ‘getting ready for work’ trigger. That translates to 225 million occasions in any given week which are now potentially at risk.

Potential for growth

While some personal care occasions are at risk of disappearing from routines entirely across the segment of conusmers who are now working from home, at the same time change brings opportunity and some categories may see an increase. For example:

  • With 14 million haircolouring appointments now going unfulfilled, will women turn to DIY colouring at home?
  • Given our heightened awareness of hygeine, it's likely our handwashing habit will continue, giving a boost to other categories like hand creams.
  • Will at home ‘pampering’ and ‘self-care’ drive an increase in bath products, masks, moisturising and nailcare? 
  • How will cosmetics fare? Will video conferencing become a new trigger? 
  • The online channel will most likely come to the fore while physical stores are closed, with social media, consumer reviews and websites playing a more crucial role than ever.

Real consumer behaviour

What is more important than ever at this time is that the critical decisions brands are making are based on real behaviours grounded in the reality of consumers' daily lives. 

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more about how our usage service gives a realistic view of personal care routines and how they change over time. 

Get in touch

Ruth Stephenson
Business Unit Director


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