December 2, 2023
By Julia Wray

A new report by BABTAC reveals the changed landscape could lead to positive growth

<i>In 2020, more than 3,500 businesses with the term ‘beauty’ in their name were launched</i>

In 2020, more than 3,500 businesses with the term ‘beauty’ in their name were launched

The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) has released a report on the changed landscape for beauty services two years on from the start of the pandemic.

The sector’s adaptability has been reflected in a surge in start-ups, according to BABTAC.

In 2020, more than 3,500 businesses with the term ‘beauty’ in their name were launched compared with 500 in 2014 (Kline); 2020 also saw the launch of 7,083 hairdressing and beauty treatment businesses (Research Reports World), which BABTAC said was likely the result of people choosing to go self-employed or pursuing beauty side hustles.

The report also highlights the enormous 2,250% rise in bookings compared with pre-pandemic figures when salons reopened in June 2020, as well as the surge in sympathy for small businesses which is helping counteract the impact of ‘no-shows’ on beauty service providers.

Digital innovations, including improved online booking systems and live video masterclasses, as well as boosted social media operations, were two further positive outcomes mentioned.

The prioritisation of skin care has led in-clinic aesthetic treatments to skyrocket by 25% during 2022 (Kline), which has benefitted practitioners.

Meanwhile, therapists on local high streets are enjoying a steadier flow of clients throughout the week as a result of hybrid working.

That said, the report simultaneously flags up challenges faced by the beauty services sector.

Chief among these are loss of earnings (an average of £11,603 by April 2021, Simply Business), fewer jobs (with 39% of eligible beauty and wellbeing roles furloughed by the end of April 2021, BABTAC) and competition with DIY treatments which spiked during lockdown.

Likewise having a negative impact are rising costs due to inflation.

Moreover, very high consumer expectations regarding cleanliness and hygiene means increased financial outlay for salon staff.

“Having suffered ravaging economic effects and limited government support during the pandemic, the beauty sector is only just getting back on its feet,” said Lesley Blair, CEO and Chair of BABTAC.

“We can also not ignore the impact the rising cost of living is about to have on our industry. Almost half of beauty businesses say they have recently been forced to cut other business costs, including wages or reducing opening hours, to afford sky-high utility bills.”

She continued: “Despite these limitations – which BABTAC is continuing to fight tirelessly against – there are several signs our sector is adapting and evolving. We’re seeing rising demand, particularly in wellbeing and skin care treatments, an increase in beauty start-ups and unprecedented innovation.

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“Those businesses that can successfully capitalise on these opportunities are set for a booming period ahead, against a backdrop of greater public support and a newfound appreciation for the work we do.”



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