Fresh Faces & Full Carts
The State of Smoooth Report:

Fresh Faces & Full Carts.

Insights from Klarna's 2021 Beauty Survey

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 in 2021.

Top of the Carts.

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 (20.3%) while older generations kept things smelling rosy with a preference for fragrance and body wash.

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.

What’s in-store?

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.

Quick looks.

Saving face.

While many shoppers rely on friends and family for beauty advice, as well as brands and publications, younger gens are more likely to turn to social media influencers for advice. Getting beauty advice from celebrities was the least favored source across all generations.

Value added.

Shoppers across all generations agree that brand values factor into their purchasing decision. The most important brand value for younger shoppers is diversity and inclusion, while older generations are more concerned with sustainability and innovation.

DIY: Why, oh why?

For better or worse (definitely worse), home haircuts had a moment in 2020. But it was facials that took out the number one spot for at-home beauty regimes followed by manicures and pedicures, while waxing was more popular among younger consumers.

Drum roll (or face tap) please.

The number one activity incorporated into health & wellness routines since the pandemic began was skincare regimens.

Natural is the new normal.

On all counts, respondents skewed towards a more natural approach to beauty, something expected to continue well beyond the vaccine rollout and the return to “normal”.

Trending now.

Millennials love mobile.

Over the past year, avocado toast enthusiasts were the only generation to prefer mobile shopping (42.5%) to desktop (36%)—which was the #1 method of beauty shopping across all other generations.

BOPIS is here to stay.

Younger generations cited a Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS) option as the biggest improvement to the in-store beauty shopping experience during the pandemic, with contactless payments following close behind.

Face-to-virtual-face.

Younger generations cited a Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS) option as the biggest improvement to the in-store beauty shopping experience during the pandemic, with contactless payments following close behind.

Millennials love mobile.

Over the past year, avocado toast enthusiasts were the only generation to prefer mobile shopping (42.5%) to desktop (36%)—which was the #1 method of beauty shopping across all other generations.

BOPIS is here to stay.

Younger generations cited a Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS) option as the biggest improvement to the in-store beauty shopping experience during the pandemic, with contactless payments following close behind.

Face-to-virtual-face.

Younger generations cited a Buy Online, Pick-up In Store (BOPIS) option as the biggest improvement to the in-store beauty shopping experience during the pandemic, with contactless payments following close behind.

It’s Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) for the win.

That’s right—the option to pay for a purchase over time was cited as by far the biggest factor in improving the online shopping experience during the pandemic across all age groups, with 88% of shoppers saying they are more likely to shop with a beauty brand that offers a BNPL option.

Get your beauty business glowing.