“Pandemics in the past have led to redesigned cities, infrastructure, architecture, and interiors – all in the name of minimizing the risk of infectious disease.” – Shaheena Attarwala, ZoomCar
The global beauty and fashion industries yield about $500 billion in sales a year and account for millions of jobs, directly and indirectly.
Beauty and fashion industry are creative hotspots and the world’s most significant fiscal revenue generators. COVID-19 has left the beauty and fashion industries in a state of great peril as it deteriorates the global economy along with laying off or unemployment status of millions of artists, weavers, designers and tailors.
FACTS AND FIGURES
The stock market has experienced significant declines as COVID-19 has rapidly spread across the globe. Among those hit hardest by the decline are G-III Apparel Group, Capri Holdings, RealReal Inc., Tapestry Inc. and Nordstrom Inc.
Luxury sector brands are predicted to experience a €10 (£8.78) billion decline in luxury sales this year according to a report by Altagamma, BCG and Bernstein.
Forbes claims western fashion brands have cancelled over $2.8 (£2.26) billion in orders from Bangladeshi suppliers, sparking a humanitarian crisis.
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, retail sales of cosmetics in China in January and February dropped 14.1% from the previous year to US$5.6 billion.
“Makeup is said to be recession-proof, but we are in a different situation right now,” says Samir Modi, founder of makeup brand Colorbar. “We were first hit because our packaging comes from China. Now we are doubly hit because European companies have stopped manufacturing. This year is going to be a washout.”
In a web conference organised by Retailers Association of India (RAI) that comprises of India’s major beauty and fashion companies, their respective representatives said that they will skip pre-fall clothing entirely and would instead plan mass production of autumn-winter collections.
The fashion giant Ritu Kumar’s MD Amrish Kumar said that they are fortunate that in India, season in terms of fabric changes only in October. He realized that Indian companies have a buffer time till October to push their spring-summer collection across bridal, high fashion and western wear.
CANCELLATION OF FASHION WEEKS
Chanel announced they would no longer stage their Métiers d’Art collection in Beijing in May.
Giorgio Armani cancelled on his invitees with less than 24 hours notice, asking them to watch a live stream of the show instead.
Dior and Chanel had cancelled their early May shows, both due to be held in Italy.
India’s largest fashion body, the Fashion Design Council of India, cancelled its biannual ready-to-wear fashion weekdays before its opening show in early March.
MAJOR LONG-TERM IMPACTS
Poshly’s CEO Doreen Bloch noted that “social distancing and quarantines are now leading people to get creative and experiment with their looks by using at-home hair kits.” In its report, Poshly concluded that about two-thirds of the customers are not interested in new product launches right now.
There would be greater use of artificial intelligence for testing, discovery, and customization as safety concerns disrupt product testing and in-person consultations.
For direct-to-consumer brands, there is a potential for closer collaboration—among brands and retailers, in particular— through data sharing and inventory pooling.
As consumers become more aware of viruses and germs living on surfaces, BPC products packaged in ways that eliminate the need to touch one’s face will stand out. Spray and stick cleaning formats in both cosmetics and facial skincare have become popular. Moreover, various “touchless” beauty products are expected to be seen in increased demand.
RESPONSE BY COMPANIES
Different multinationals are collaborating and making earnest efforts to support the civic agencies:
Prada’s co-CEOs and chairman have donated intensive care and resuscitation units to three hospitals in Milan.
Versace has also made a substantial donation to The Chinese Red Cross Foundation to help with the shortage of medical supplies and €200,000 to the intensive-care unit of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.
Giorgio Armani has donated €1.25 million to numerous Italian hospitals and institutions.
Since mid-march, Lacoste’s French factories have seen nearly a hundred of their employees volunteer in manufacturing 145,000 washable and reusable masks.
Contributing the most at the top of this list was LVMH with US$2.32 million. Next was the Chinese brand PROYA, which donated US$2.14 million and set up a charity fund, then L’Oréal, which contributed US$725,400, and they were followed by JALA.
With the growing obsession of hygiene, cleanliness and immunity among consumers and their anxiety, beauty products that are packaged employing touchless formats such as stick and spray setup which reduce risks of contamination and offer long shelf life are high in demand by the consumers.
The beauty brands are expected to exploit this lockdown opportunity to renovate their online offerings by investing in suitable technologies such as chatbots, and augmented and virtual reality as more consumers are seeking beauty advice from the confines of their home.
Due to hand hygiene guidelines of WHO, preventative categories such as soap, hand sanitizers and wet wipes are gaining high demand. As a ripple effect, skincare products such as hand creams and moisturizers are also expected to be affected with frequent hand washing seeing a greater demand for hand care products. For instance, Zalando, Europe’s largest fashion and beauty marketplace, witnessed a boom in self-care beauty categories, including aromatherapy, candles, detox products, and skincare and haircare products which were up 300% than the previous year.
In the American market, Nielsen accounted for rises in the sales of hair dyes and hair clippers by 23% and 166%, respectively, in the first week of April 2020 versus a year ago.
The threat of COVID-19 presents a double blow to the beauty and fashion industries as the global economic fallout means that consumers have less money to spend on luxuries like clothing, and due to social distancing, people are no longer required to maintain a minimum requirement of presentability.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change.” – Paulo Coelho