When we think of the holidays in beauty, there’s so much to look forward to. Limited edition sets, new launches, exclusive packaging, gifts with purchase, little boxes and satin ribbons; these are a few of my favourite things and instant mood boosters!

This year, while the holidays are similar in many ways, it does feel very different. Consumers have evolved and so have their shopping experiences. In many ways, we feel together, yet apart at the same time. However, I think it’s worth noting that the beauty industry has always been associated with spreading joy. And what better time to spread a little joy than during this very unique holiday season.

Breaking Down Holiday 2020 and the Canadian Beauty Industry

Fragrance continues to be the fastest growing category over the holidays. In November, sales grew by +6% vs. 2019, driven by higher concentrated scents Eau De Parfums and Perfume, as well as home scents.

Consumers continue to invest in skincare and hair, but it is products that promote wellness, self-care, and pampering that are accelerating growth. This year, body skincare sales which includes body devices, hand soap and exfoliators, have grown by +24%, while face exfoliators increased by +27%. Furthermore, face masks and lip treatments grew by +9% and +7% respectively.

Interestingly, the majority of consumers have kept their skincare routines unchanged over the past two months, with only 12% of consumers indicating that they have tried new products. For beauty enthusiasts, it is evident that the holidays are also about stocking up on our most beloved beauty products. With salon and spa closures, sales of prestige hair continued to soar, up +51% vs. last year.

Embracing Ecommerce

The importance of ecommerce has never been greater than it is today. In November, ecommerce sales in Canada grew +43%, even for key categories such as fragrances which are predominately purchased in-store. The convenience of free shipping and returns are most important for consumers when making a beauty purchase online. Free samples and gift with purchase are also high on the consideration, but for consumers between the ages of 18-34 live chat and virtual try-ons are important as they are looking for more of a consultative experience.

As a consumer, what I miss the most is the small joy of discovering the stories behind the retailers, brands and products at the heart of our industry. The different kinds of roses that went into a bottle of perfume, or the ingredients in my skincare product. Often times these mentions are small, but worthy. Sometimes it is the story behind the product that truly resonates, inspires, educates and entices consumers to purchase both for themselves and for that special someone. And while this year may feel a little different than others, I’m confident that if we take the time to appreciate the small joys we can come out of 2020 with a true appreciation for our industry and the people that make it great.