The Cosmetic industry in the United Kingdom has established itself on our high streets and continues to become increasingly accessible. With this constant expansion comes unique opportunities for consumer lead innovation. With new treatments being developed each year, we are one step closer to receiving that one of the anti-ageing treatments that we all desire. 

Unfortunately, this rapid progress was put on a sudden halt when the COVID-19 pandemic stuck. Like all businesses, these clinics were forced to close with no real certainty in regards to when they would be able to open again. It was a time where it paid off to have suitable cosmetic insurance in place to cover the outgoings of the practice. 

As we are now experiencing the careful reopening of the economy in the United Kingdom it’s only right that we take some time to reflect on the pandemic itself and how our government precautions have impacted the future of the cosmetic industry. 

The Industry-Wide Impacts of The Pandemic 

In late March 2020, we were plunged into complete lockdown, the public was instructed to stay at home, and businesses of all types, not just cosmetics, were forced to close their shutters. This sudden closure forced cosmetic businesses across the United Kingdom to rapidly adapt and continue to work remotely where possible. 

How COVID-19 Impacted The Cosmetic Industry 

The cosmetic industry was one of the worst impact industries as all treatment required a fully sanitized cosmetic clinic and could not continue remotely. Whilst online checkups could still be completed and most clinics used this time to reconnect with previous clients, there was a serious lack of new business coming in the door which led to sustainable hits in revenue. 

Decline In Demand For Cosmetic Treatments 

Cosmetic Retailers in the UK saw a huge decline in demand throughout the pandemic with some retailers estimating to see a -13.3% decline in 2021. This led to the industry’s total value throughout 2021 estimating to only $1.9bn wherein 2020 the value reached a whopping $2.1bn. This was the first time that the industry’s value has fallen compared to the year previous showing how severe the lockdown was on the industry as a whole. 

Planning For A Safe Return To The Clinic 

All practices were put in the same position, there was no new business coming in the door so the time had to be spent focusing on internal processes and ways to innovate the practice for the future. For many, this meant investing in new treatments such as dermal fillers and botox and for other practices, this meant improving their aftercare to ensure the treatments were made to last. 

The Future of The Cosmetic & Aesthetics Industry

A recent survey completed with 1,360 practitioners allowed us to better understand this period and take a further look into the future of the industry. Whilst many described the period as “devastating” and a “disaster” there was some light at the end of the tunnel. This gave practices the time needed to plan for a return stronger than ever before. 

One example of innovation in the industry during this difficult time was the sales of skin care products online and through digital channels. This allowed practices to drive revenue from new channels which were not previously explored. In addition, this raises questions over the future of the industry in terms of digital consultations and after-care. The use of Facetime, Skype, and Zoom will become the new norm for aftercare checkups, reducing contact and maximizing efficiency within the practice. 

To summarise, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been felt throughout all cosmetic practitioners within the United Kingdom. Whilst this has resulted in huge hits to client numbers, this period of closure has allowed practices to focus on innovation developing a solid business plan for the future. It’s this level of innovation that guarantees the future of the cosmetic industry.