Weighing up the role of wellbeing
We asked some leading brands in the wellbeing and wider beauty space about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the sector and how they view prospects for the industry’s recovery. Compiled by Hannah Tan-Gillies.
How do you view the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the wider industry?
Rituals Travel Retail Director Neil Ebbutt: We will have to remain flexible and adaptable and monitor closely what consumers expect and want from travel retail. Our role is to deliver retail environments which first and foremost are safe and hygienic to reassure shoppers, and then to deliver within those constraints the most engaging product offer and the absolute best brand experience we can.
Nuxe Global Travel Retail Director Marion Bruimaud: I view the crisis’ impact with a mixture of concern for the immediate future but with optimism for the longer term.
My optimism is down to my belief that people will want to travel again, so customers will return. Travel retail has an outstanding track record of overcoming a whole range of crises through a combination of innovation and professionalism.
Innovation and professionalism will drive progress in travel retail post-crisis, says Nuxe
Laboratoires Filorga Global Travel Retail Director Nicolas Rimeau: With a crisis of this magnitude, evolutions in people’s expectations and behaviours will be profound and permanent. Adaptation and evolution are key to answers those changes. Both will require close monitoring, anticipation, innovation and openness towards positive disruption. Putting the people at the heart of the strategy is the fundamental pilar to the recovery towards a flourishing industry.
Johnson & Johnson Head of Marketing, Media and Digital, Travel Retail Sandrine Tesnière: There is no doubt that COVID-19 has impacted many brands, both big and small, across all categories in the travel retail industry. The current state of the global economy has also altered consumers’ spending habits and priorities.
The pandemic has levelled the playing field for everyone and with that, there may be opportunities for smaller brands to capitalise on. The question is: how can we pivot the travel retail business in this uncertain and fluid environment to be ahead of the game? COVID-19 has changed consumers’ purchasing behaviours. The pandemic has also changed consumers’ attitudes towards and expectations of skincare – meaning that the beauty travel retail product offer will need to adapt. We may see a rise in overall health and wellness products with potential for holistic beauty and a heightened interest in product efficacy and superiority.
Travel retail consumers will become more astute in their skincare choices while looking for the experience and a sense of discovery, where they are likely to buy a product to trial for the first time when they shop. With this in mind, travel retailers need to provide a diverse product portfolio that includes space for smaller, sometimes more local brands.
As one of the leading derma-cosmetics brands, we believe Dr.Ci:Labo is here to stay for the long run in travel retail and will be one of the key players shaping the travel retail space.
Baroque & Rose Founder Miriam Ciantar: What has become immediately apparent was that far too many companies are just waiting for things to get back to normal. These companies are doomed to fail and we are going to see companies that have been trading for 50, 60 or even 100 years, disappear. Too many companies are managed by people who have no financial stake in the business, and simply enjoy the benefits of the sound decisions their predecessors made.
Some companies are led by people who suppress talent instead of cultivating it and plug holes where there is weak management instead of promoting innovation. For companies like these, the pandemic has just accelerated the inevitable.
For the world to avoid a long-term recession, governments need to boost the economy and spend its way out of recession. In 1929, when the US stock market crashed, governments entered into a period of austerity prolonging the recession until 1942.
TonyMoly Head of Global Business Division Clara Bae: COVID-19 has given us all the time to pause for thought and to explore howe can do things differently. Given the current restrictions on movement caused by the pandemic crisis, customers have become extremely knowledgeable about what they are buying. This is because they are now spending a lot of time researching products online and through social media channels. COVID-19 era customers have already made purchase decisions before they even enter a store or visit its ecommerce platform. We believe that this can only benefit the industry, because brands will be more focused on creating products that customers really want.
Beter Travel Retail Manager Javier Estrada and Deputy Sales Director Carla Armengou: Travelling is part of our DNA, and we believe that the travel retail industry will certainly return to profitability once the pandemic is contained. There might be a decrease in global mobility due to the related health and financial effects of the crisis, but we believe people will travel again. While the trend for digital will be accelerated, we still believe that the physical in-store experience cannot be replaced.
Haan Co-Founders Eric Armengou and Hugo Rovira: On one hand, many companies are evolving and changing their products and services to adapt to the new market situation. We also expect more brands to capitalise on the natural trend, to show affinity for the planet and the eco-conscious consumer. On the other hand, the COVID situation has also made a lot of companies rethink and redefine their role in society. Now more than ever, there is a greater interest in brands with purpose. In fact, we can say that companies should exist to create value for the society. It is not about the ‘what’ but the ‘why’.
Eric Armengou and Hugo Rovira
Oribe: Adapting to a new landscape
Oribe Hair Care General Manager Sid Katari: Our focus is on helping our community recover and supporting our partners while constantly understanding and adapting to the current landscape in each market. Our salon commission programme was developed to support our salon partners while they are closed or operating at limited capacity. Through support programmes like this, we aim to effectively reduce the impact of the current situation on our partners’ businesses.
Long Haul Spa Founder Christine Keeling: Until the world returns to some semblance of regularity again, the impact will remain dire from both an economic and mental health perspective. We have a diverse team of people in Australia, New Zealand, the US and the UK, and are all struggling as we watch the industry lurch between opened and closed borders. Living with the effects of COVID will become our new normal. Like when smoking was banned on airplanes or when 9/11 changed our airport security processes forever, we adjusted and carried on. We know that there will be testing stations, random temperature checks, compulsory mask-wearing, increased sanitisation practices and the like. But we will get used to it, because we don’t want to imagine a world without travel. In Australia we have seen very little change in shopping habits. While online has certainly increased, shoppers are still going into shops and trying on clothing, testing cosmetics and checking out the latest electronics. From a retail perspective, I would expect things to go back to normal once we are allowed to travel again.
The Moodie Davitt eZine Issue 284 | 30 September 2020
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