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Apr 10, 20213 min read

Fresh faces & full carts: the biggest beauty trends for 2021.

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by Klarna

Klarna conducted a survey of 15,000 of our 15 million US consumers to find out how they are shopping for beauty during the pandemic, what trends are likely to continue, and what this means for beauty retailers as the country begins to reopen.

The way the world shops for beauty has undeniably changed over the past year. But how?  And what does this mean for beauty retailers in 2021 and beyond?

In a survey of 15,000 shoppers, we asked consumers how they are shopping for beauty during the pandemic. We’ve highlighted the top insights & tips from Klarna’s 2021 Beauty Survey below. 

Fresh faces forward. 

Skincare was the top beauty category shopped for during the pandemic across all ages, followed by haircare. For Gen Z, eye makeup was the second most popular category, while older generations kept things smelling rosy with a preference for fragrance and body wash. 

And speaking of fresh faces, clean beauty is having a moment: for younger generations, the biggest consideration when shopping for beauty products was natural, non-toxic ingredients. Gen Z and Millennials were also more inclined to buy cruelty-free and vegan products than their older counterparts.

Hot tip: Keep in mind that while staying home, many consumers have been taking a more natural approach to beauty—spending more on skin and haircare. As the vaccine rolls out and people begin going out and wearing makeup again, try pushing products that can be used in a more natural, fresh-faced look.

Think in-store shopping is dead? Think again. 

Many younger shoppers plan to return to beauty stores once the vaccine is available (Gen Z: 30%, Millennials: 24%). And while 67% of respondents preferred in-store shopping pre-pandemic (with more than half shopping for beauty products in stores at least once a week, and 11% of Zs shopping in stores three or more times a week), 42% of shoppers will not shop any differently once the vaccine rolls out. 

Hot tip: Post-vaccine, prioritize safety in your stores and create engaging, personalized, IRL experiences that will entice shoppers to return. But don’t neglect e-commerce—a seamless omnichannel experience is key to keep shoppers shopping across all platforms. 

Buy now, pay later for the win. 

The option to pay for a purchase over time in installments was cited as by far the biggest factor in improving the online shopping experience during the pandemic across all age groups (Zs: 75%, Millennials: 76%, Xers: 74% and Boomers: 74%), with 88% of shoppers saying they are more likely to shop with a beauty brand that offers a BNPL option. 

Hot tip: If you’re not already offering your customers an option to buy what they want now and pay over time, now’s the time to start. Learn more at

Want more insights and tips? Check out Klarna’s 2021 Beauty Survey.

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