Canadians could care less about beauty and grooming during COVID: Field Agent Canada

New research from Field Agent Canada suggests that these truly are hairy times for Canadians, and that men in particular might emerge from the current stay-at-home period with some unique hair styles.

A new online survey of 652 people conducted on April 10 found that personal grooming—with the exception of hand-washing—is much less of a priority for Canadians during the current self-isolation period.

The study of Canadians’ health and beauty routines found that both men and women are shaving less, using less deodorant/anti-perspirant, and wearing far less perfume/cologne as they are forced to stay at home.

Women are also using less makeup (an average of 1.2 times per week, down from 3.2 times per week pre COVID) and shaving their legs less, while men are shaving their face less.

“It’s clear that the grooming and beauty industry has significant challenges to overcome due to COVID-19,” says Field Agent Canada’s general manager, Jeff Doucette. “Brands in segments such as cosmetics and fragrances will be most affected.”

The research suggests it’s a good time to be a hand soap manufacturer however, noting that Canadians are now washing their hands an average of 13.5 times a day, up from 6.9 times prior to the crisis.

Brushing teeth has remained unchanged, although flossing and using mouthwash have both declined. The use of facial creams and moisturizers is down slightly, while the use of hair styling products has also fallen—from an average of 1.4 times a day pre-COVID to 0.6 times per day. And 17% of men say they plan to grow out their beard during the crisis.

There are also significant differences between the sexes when it comes to their hair: While 74% of women plan to wait for salons to re-open before cutting their hair, 34% of males say they will cut their own hair, and 30% say they will get a family member to cut it.

That dovetails with a new Google Trends report which found that searches for “How to use clippers to cut hair” have increased by 140% in the past week (although we’re also starting to see the emergence of cautionary tweets).

The COVID crisis is set to hit the health and beauty industry, which is worth about US$7.7 billion in Canada. A recent report from research firm Kline found that the U.S. cosmetics and toiletries market is on track for its sharpest decline in more than 60 years, surpassing the 0.8% drop-off that accompanied the 2009 recession.

Kline says that a 2.5% decline is the most likely outcome for America’s $75 billion industry, with a 1.5% gain the best-case scenario and an 8.1% drop the worst-case scenario. “And given the current state of the pandemic, with lockdowns now inching closer toward summer months, our current worst-case scenario may, in fact, become the most-likely scenario,” said the report.

The report says that so-called “rescue categories” including hand sanitizers and liquid hand soaps will see increased use, while  “soothing solutions” such as facial care and nail polish will decline in the short term, but could benefit from consumers turning to them as a “treat” or to maintain a part of their regular routine they can still control.

The biggest impact, the report says, will be felt by so-called “can-wait” categories such as fragrance and cosmetics—which will decline sharply during the current crisis and will continue to suffer during the economic fallout.

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

Chris Powell