The annual Beauty Summit organized by Pambianco was held on Thursday, September 17th, aimed at analyzing the influence that the pandemic had on the cosmetics sector and how companies in the sector were able to respond to the global crisis that ensued.
As highlighted by the analysis carried out by the Pambianco Observatory, the first response that companies gave to the impossibility of having physical interaction was to move contact with customers, suppliers and consumers to digital. Therefore, online sales and the possibility of remote dermocosmetic consultations have increased, but it has also been possible to create digital canvases or maintain virtual contacts with suppliers. Staying at home more than before and the need to wear the mask in public places has given rise to new beauty routines that have led to a greater investment in the purchase of skincare products and a decrease in the use of perfumes and make-up. The pandemic has also strengthened the concept of sustainability, that is no longer and only applicable to the products or companies that produce them but now must be brought throughout the supply chain (sustainable economy).
In the 11th Global Insight Consumer Survey carried out by PwC on Millennials and Generation Z, however, it emerged that 40% of global consumers have suffered a reduction in income and consequently in the possibility of buying, this will lead to a doubling of the number of consumers who, in the new normal, will decrease their purchases. Although the increase in online purchases is confirmed, it appears that the physical store is still the preferred channel to buy beauty products. Furthermore, the role of influencers and social media in the communication of cosmetic products and in the relative purchase (in store or online) is confirmed, while the reliability of the brand and the proximity of the store are the first two factors that influence the choice of the retailer. However, the product label is the first driver that influences M&Z which are ever more focused to the sustainability of the company and the impact of consumption on our environment. Reflecting on what emerged from this research, in order for companies to maintain the desired results they must therefore increase the focus on the customer, accelerate digital and innovations, and increase the focus on safety and sustainability.
What emerged from the investigations by Pambianco and PwC was confirmed by the speeches of the summit speakers. Luis Plà, CEO Italy of Angelini Beauty, underlined that in order to restart it is necessary to create a true omnichannel between online and retail and it is increasingly important to maintain the role of “Made in Italy” as a metabrand. This must also be followed by a change of perspective in the approach to business which must move on a logic of globality and interchange throughout the supply chain in order to implement win-win partnerships.
If the pharmacy channel has been confirmed as fundamental to push skincare sales, as confirmed by Antonio Pirillo, CEO of Rougj, and Riccardo Iacometti, Founder and CEO of Farmaè, perfumeries have to respond quickly and innovatively to the closures imposed during the lockdown. As stated in the round table that involved Flavio Simone (CEO Esserbella), Mara Zanotto (DG Ethos Profumerie) and Fabio Lo Prato (MD Naima), it was essential to focus on the consumer and find solutions that would allow to offer, even virtually, the same consulting and active listening services. A lot of work has been done, therefore, both on the store staff and on the possibility of quickly delivering the products to customers’ homes (both online and through widespread delivery by individual perfumeries). This has made it possible to contain losses and to hope that the perfumery channel would close at -10 / 15% for the year.
The channel that actually suffered the most from the impact of the lockdown and limitations in international circulation was travel retail that, as witnessed by Gianluca Toniolo AD Italia and Global Travel Retail MD of LVMH P&C, saw a decrease of between 70% and 90% of worldwide passenger traffic (trend that will return to 2019 levels no earlier than 2022 in Asia and 2024 in the rest of the world). Asia is confirmed as the main beauty market in travel retail (60/70%) but if KoreaPpre Covid represented the first duty free market in the world, it is expected that in 2021 China will become it. This will be possible thanks to the government policies implemented by the Chinese government aimed at facilitating tax free purchases (extending the possibility of using them even up to 3 months after the purchase and increasing the related budget 6/7 times) and the nation’s will to maintain consumption internally by creating a tax free hub in Hainan. Also for LVMH P&C to be able to act on consumers will be a fundamental investment on digital, the presence in new purchasing centers, the possibility of continuing to transmit retail excellence and a new approach in product promotion dedicated methods . It will also be fundamental to enhance the human resources called to make a difference in shops.
Dario Ferrari, Founder and President of Intercos Group, declares that product innovation and speed of response to market needs are the necessary engines of growth for post-Covid companies. It will be fundamental to know how to reorganize in a global way and to focus on sustainability, not only for the product or the company, but also, above all, as an attitude towards the market and the consumer. Finally, it is necessary to understand the important change in social habits that will lead the consumer to orient themselves towards hometainment and provide specific products .
At the end of the summit Davide Bollati, president of Davines, confirmed that focus on the consumer, sustainability (Davines is a Benefit company and B Corp) and investment in skincare and global markets are the keys to success that will lead them to end 2020 with a minimal loss compared to the previous year.