Masks Off, Shave, Masks On! The $241 Billion Personal Care Services Industry Reopens Globally - But With Strict Precautions

The global personal care services market is expected to rapidly decline in 2020, due to worldwide lockdown and closure of non-essential shops imposed by governments to contain the spread of the coronavirus. After two to three months of complete lockdown, many countries started reopening non-essential stores in phases, including barber shops, beauty and spa salons, tattoo and massage parlors, nail salons, etc., but with extreme precautionary steps in place to stop COVID-19 from spreading.

According to Global Market Model estimates, the global personal care services market is expected to decline from $344.3 billion in 2019 to $241.1 billion in 2020. Despite initial decline in 2020, the global personal care services market will recover and reach $396.6 billion by 2023. This growth will be driven by increased focus on health and beauty, increased penetration of internet and social media, and the growing wellness tourism industry.

On June 22nd, a barbershop in Trenton, New Jersey, reopened for customers wearing masks. As a precaution, the barbers at the shop developed a new method of taking a part of the customer’s mask off, shaving, and putting the mask back on. Similar instances were observed in salons around the world. In Turkey, hairdressers and beauty salons reopened in mid-May, with limited number of customers allowed in at once, which was calculated using a formula of one person per every 10 square meters (108 square feet) of floor space. Personal care service providers were required to wear surgical masks and transparent plastic face screens, and to use disposable towels and other single-use supplies. In Canada, personal care service providers reopened their shops in May, with strict measures in place for both clients and employees. In India, barber shops and salons reopened, with all staff members covered fully in personal protective equipment (PPEs) and allowing only a certain number of clients to enter.

The Business Research Company’s global personal care services market report highlights recommendations for businesses engaged in the industry, such as digital integration, increased time between appointments, prioritizing hygiene, focus on off-premise services, etc. Due to the ill-effects of COVID-19, the off-premise segment of the personal care services market by end-user location will grow the fastest between 2019 to 2023, at an annual rate of 6.3%, compared to on-premise personal care services which will grow at 2.7% annual rate in the same period. These numbers come from the Global Market Model, and are explained in depth in the report.

Globally, governments are also offering several measures to support businesses during the pandemic. For example, the government of the UK announced a stimulus package to assist personal care service providers. Under the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme,’ which was announced on March 20, 2020, the government will cover the wages of employees who cannot work due to the restrictions. These employees will be paid 80% of their salary up to £2,500 per month, by the government. The government also extended the deadline for the payment of VAT and income tax until the end of next year.

The fear associated with the spread of the virus might linger long after the crisis ends. Even after lockdowns are lifted, many consumers might be wary of visiting salons or spas, and the frequency of visiting personal care centers might reduce as people seek to avoid spending a significant amount of time in an enclosed space surrounded by other people. Also, many people consider personal care services as non-essential and might prefer not to indulge in these services. With global economic slowdown, there is an expected decline in disposable incomes, and people may not be willing to spend on services that are considered non-essential. This will lead to slow recovery of the market in the forecast period.

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