How does the trust of cosmetic consumers change when you are forced to live indoors for 70 days? How does the consumption behaviour of cosmetic consumers change when important portions of the face are covered by a mask?

Each of us is aware that we have experienced a radical, totalitarian and destabilizing change in our habits.

And all this has transformed consumer behaviour and consumer confidence (not only) cosmetics during the Lockdown phase.

Some data on the period of the Lockdown (source: Centro Studi Cosmetica Italia, published by Il Sole24 Ore) represent an emblematic picture of this change in the Beauty & Cosmetics industry, which mainly takes place in Italy:

  • In the mass market with a contraction of -40%.
  • In the perfumery with a contraction/displacement of -75%, but in the online thanks to e-commerce it grew by almost +40%.
  • In the pharmacy with a contraction of -25% where the sale of dermocosmetics had stopped (no sunscreen and little personal care).
  • The Herbalist’s Sector contracted by -75%.

But if we avoid dwelling only on the + (positive) and – (negative) signs and look beyond appearances, we realize that there are some rainfalls from less to more. Therefore, we see a change in consumption habits, a passage from Habit A to Habit B.

This data reveals that changes in cosmetics:

  • These are not momentary phenomena caused by the limitation of personal freedoms during lockdown
  • But these are phenomena that have an impact on medium-term behavior.

How cosmetic consumption behaviour evolved in the days of Covid-19?

Why fear affects purchasing behavior? The  Somatic Marker phenomenon

To understand how these changes in consumer confidence and consumer behaviour patterns are marked deep down in every consumer we do this short experiment by answering the question: what did you do on 26 January 2019 at 11:40 a.m.?

Surely you don’t remember what you did on the morning of that date or even the afternoon of 17 days ago, but you remember where you were and what you were doing at 14:30 (Italian time) on September 11 (2001).

This phenomenon is given by a danger-activating marker that generates as a response, behaviors and emotions such as fear both on the mind and on the body able to:

  1. Activate physical/emotional reactions => Anger, Fear, Claustrophobia, Agoraphobia => Conservation Instinct
  2. Determine strong mnemonic mechanisms = I remember exactly that day/momentum or I remove (selective amnesia) consciously that day/momentum
  3. I would change long-term behavior

This is what Antonio Damasio calls the Somatic Marker:

In the hypothesis of Somatic change, it is assumed that acute emotional processes drive or radically change in the short term, BUT also in the medium term:

  • PERCEPTIONS = our amygdala prepares the body for the emergency, giving strong chemical stimuli such as nausea, labyrinthitis, panic, which determine the creation of new perceptions also the generation of Fake News (Martin Lindstrom).
  • BEHAVIORS = We are more reactive to events that are fixed in long-term memory or removed from long-term memory (amnesia). That’s why we remember what we were doing on September 11 and not November 14 of the same year.
  • DECISIONS = We change our future habits based on the triggering event. Our emotional intelligence makes us very reactive to similar examples and contexts, even to feelings.How cosmetic consumption behaviour evolved in the days of Covid-19

 How to respond to the changing needs of the cosmetic consumer

Neuroscience confirms that;

  • Consumers’ confidence will change: Isolation Economy is a consequence of the present
  • New consumption behaviours determine the need to design new Customer Experiences
  • Changes in consumption determine the design of products with flexible geometries

Digital Innovation: 3 questions to measure how well we can adapt to new scenarios

We must therefore understand how aligned our organisation is with the need for these changes. Here are 3 key questions that allow you to understand how much you respond to the new scenarios:

  • Can my company understand what consumers appreciate about a product and what they would like to see implemented?
  • How well are the departments and functions of my company able to identify new habits that can be included within the product lines of our brand?
  • Is my company able to organize itself internally to determine the conditions to quickly make an evolution to adapt to new scenarios?