A new world: Takeaways from FIT research on post-pandemic beauty world

By Ravyn Cullor

- Last updated on GMT

FIT released its Beauty Think Tank's research on the post-pandemic beauty world. © Getty Images - Kanawa_Studio
FIT released its Beauty Think Tank's research on the post-pandemic beauty world. © Getty Images - Kanawa_Studio

Related tags COVID-19 Consumer trends e-commerce Market research digital beauty tech retail

Beauty companies should update how they approach both their own employees and the new generation of customers after the pandemic, according to FIT.

The Fashion Institute of Technology’s “Beauty Think Tank”​ recently released its capstone research,  “Beauty After Covid-19: Beauty's Reformation and Renaissance.”​ The study synthesized how people have changed since the pandemic and how the industry can respond.

The research was conducted by FIT’s graduating class and includes over 900 respondents, global fieldwork, and interviews with top beauty executives and market experts across the globe. 

“Beauty After Covid-19: Beauty's Reformation and Renaissance … examines the paradigm shift within the beauty industry since the pandemic, with the need to adapt to both consumer and employee expectations,”  ​the press release said.

Flexibility in the face of the Great Resignation

Infographic defining the circle model
FIT's CIRCLE model, courtesy of FIT

FIT’s research found that issues driving the great resignation, the massive resignations across the economy during and after the pandemic, are prevalent in the cosmetics industry as well.

The study found the following about the industry professionals surveyed:

  • 53% agreed structure and policies stifle agility and experimentation 
  • 80% agree a five-day work week is an outdated model
  • 26% say they only plan to stay with their employer between 0-2 years
  • 71% would look for another job if they weren't granted the flexibility to work from home

The study developed a model to adjust business practices to meet these changes in employees, called the CIRCLE model.

“The … model revolves around the need for corporations to remember that employees are human beings with well-being to prioritize,”​  the press release said. “As such, the ultimate goal for a successful beauty company of the future will be to reform existing outdated ideals and practices, and replace them with a human-centered approach.”

Those recommendations include developing new leadership positions, defining company culture and embracing fluidity.

Consumers have one foot in the digital door

Infographic of consumer behavior
FIT infographic on consumer behavior, courtesy of FIT

The beauty industry made an overall push toward DTC out of necessity during the height of the pandemic, but the study says consumers have a complicated relationship with technology and retail.

“Lines are blurring between physical and digital worlds and beauty consumers are facing a complex reality with unlimited ways to interact with brands,”​  the press release said. “Despite the excitement around technological advancements and innovation, there is a profound sense of anxiety brought on by the rapid acceleration of society and technology.”

The study found the following about consumers:

  • 62% of respondents 18-29 stated they have feelings of restlessness and lower energy
  • 57% stated that they have changed the way that they find and interact with new people since the pandemic began
  • 66% showed fear or distrust of companies or brands acquiring and having their data

FIT said brands need to find a way to communicate with both the “real me” and the “meta me” aspect of a consumer. That means connecting a person's value of in-person connection, services and experience with their interest in novelty in technologies and the metaverse.

The study also noted that it’s important for brands to encourage consumers to form emotional investment, be completely open and transparent and provide innovative digital tools.

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