After COVID-19, Four Cosmetics Consumer Mindsets

The outbreak of COVID-19 has reshaped consumers’ mindsets when it comes to purchase decisions. Whoever understands consumers’ needs at the earliest time will capture a golden opportunity for innovation.

The outbreak of the coronavirus at the start of 2020 is a great opportunity for the beauty industry to evolve. 

Online shopping, purchasing health related items, purchases made easy and non-contact shopping...All these new consumption habits are being formed and making inner changes to our norms. 

In the face of this pandemic, young people's shopping views are being re-examined. During the outbreak and the recovery period, what new changes are seen in consumers? What are the new consumer needs for personal care and beauty?

  • Beauty awareness, and the expansion of the consumer groups.

The rapidly increasing population of beauty-conscious consumers is the most important driver behind the fast growth of cosmetics sales.

A research report released by points out that the marginal expansion of consumer groups is the key to sales growth. In terms of age brackets, Generation Z born after 1995 has gradually become one of the major consumer groups. With their sense of beauty care formed quite early, they have a strong demand for the quality of cosmetics and demonstrate the biggest potential for purchases of cosmetics products. According to data analysis by Alibaba, the per capita cosmetics consumption growth rate of the post-1995s generation was the highest among all generations from 2018 to 2019, and it is also the biggest contributor to online sales growth.

In addition to the rapid growth of purchasing power, consumers born in or after 1995 have gradually developed purchasing habits and brand loyalty. To seize opportunities in the cut-throat market, it’s essential to understand what members of the post-1995s generation, the major engine driving purchases in the future, are looking for in the field of personal care and beauty, and to launch cosmetics products that can better meet their needs.

  • Consumers are no longer making purchases at whim,
    and are showing preferences for cost-effective products

It is foreseeable that a series of consumer behavior changes will occur after the pandemic is over. From the perspective of consumers, irrational consumer behaviors, such as shopping with a vengeance or making purchases blindly, are not likely to repeat.

According to an analytical report from Kantar Consulting, there appears to be a lack of consumer willingness to purchase luxury items both during and after the pandemic. Survey findings indicate that 61% of the consumers either cut or cancelled spending on luxury products during the outbreak of COVID-19, and that 21% expressed their plan to reduce spending on luxury goods even after the end of the pandemic. As a result, luxury products are considered the product category that consumers are most likely to cut their expenditures on. This probably also has something to do with deeper changes in people’s attitudes towards spending.

In terms of consumer mentality, Kantar Consulting believes that based on the current situation, consumers tend to agree that it’s important to prepare for a rainy day. It seems that there are more people intending “to reduce unnecessary expenses” than those practicing carpe diem.

While consumers are developing self-awareness and are becoming more open to cosmetics, they appear to be more cautious about choices. Members of the post-1995s generation are known for lavishing money on cosmetics, but it doesn’t mean that they are impulsive spenders. On the contrary, over 60% of the cohort prefer rational spending. Therefore, common tricks such as sales promotions, discounts, gifts and coupons are not “effective lures” for them.

Studies have shown that post-95s cosmetics consumers are only less price-conscious than those of the post-1980s generation. While post-1990s shoppers are the least price-sensitive, members of Gen Z is the most sensitive to prices and prefer products that are highly cost-effective. With a younger attitude, innovative marketing and highly reasonable prices, Chinese cosmetics brands are seeing their sales reach new highs, and are catching up with growing momentum.

  • Driven by a growing sense of environmental friendliness, the concept of “zero waste” is gaining popularity.

In the cosmetics industry, concepts of sustainability, greenness and environmental friendliness are building up momentum. The pandemic has made more consumers realize the importance of protecting our ecological environment.

Kantar Consulting observed that in terms of brand attitude, consumers “are willing to spend more on socially responsible brands”, “pay more for healthier surroundings and services”, “focus more on environmental protection and sustainable development". This undoubtedly sets out the direction for manufacturer development.

As Mintel notes in its 2030 Global Beauty and Personal Care Trends, products and services featuring waste-free claims, or beauty products using eco-friendly packages or emphasizing “waste-free” ingredients will win the hearts of consumers in 2030.

It’s clear that more and more consumers are becoming ethically conscience, requiring brands to implement concrete changes. Brands that promised to reduce environmental damage by redesigning their packaging or production processes have been praised.

  • Exquisite care routines can enhance happiness, and healthy products becoming a mega trend.

Under the impact of the pandemic, consumers' self-care consciousness is constantly being stimulated, and the pursuit of health is even more extreme. Naturally, there has been a significant increase in consumption upgrade in health-related beauty and personal care categories.  The new generation of consumers are more sensitive to health, while seeking comfort from self-care, hoping to gain a sense of security.

According to Mintel’s views on the impact of the pandemic on the consumer market, consumers are more than ever in wanting happiness in their life during this battle against the virus. They want to spend more time taking care of themselves or attending to their physical and mental health, indulging themselves in an exquisite skincare process at home. In fact, a survey conducted by Mintel in 35 global markets in 2019 revealed that up to 79% of the Chinese urbanites surveyed believed that personal care processes are a good way to relieve stress.

The pursuit of physical and mental health will continue to affect beauty and personal care sectors. Mintel believes that a 360-degree comprehensive beauty care will be the mainstream of the future, which means that beauty and personal care products will need to play a more profound role in contributing to the overall health and wellbeing of consumers instead of merely working skin-deep.


(Sources: “How to Tide Over Such a Tough Time - Crises and Opportunities Facing Different Industries During the Outbreak of COVID-19” from Kantar Consulting; Mintel;; etc.)