It's probably fair to say that 2020 was a uniquely difficult year and one that won't be missed. But, as we leave it behind, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there is good reason to be optimistic about 2021.
So, what three things did we learn in 2020?
- We learnt just how quickly life can change. Within the space of a month, the old normal was replaced by a new (not very normal) normal, and by 20th March we were in complete lockdown, the country's hair salons closed for business. The full economic impact of the pandemic will not be known for some time but, as we proved following the great recession of 2008, the hairdressing industry will be amongst the first to come fighting back.
- We discovered, in its absence, just how much people need, and indeed love, our salons and the hairdressers within them! In an April survey reported by Marie Claire , nearly half of its respondents said that visiting a hair and beauty salon was in their top three post lock down activities. And, in May, there was an almost tenfold increase in online searches asking when salons would re-open. Whilst the government didn't classify salons as "essential", the public begged to differ.
- 2020 was the year of the online business. With the hairdressing industry relying on face to face (well, hand to hair) contact, technology could not provide a solution to 2020's problems. However, there's much more to running a hairdressing business than just making people look great. Amazon's 2020 bumper year highlighted that the pandemic has forever changed the way that we do business; consumers want to save time with simple online ordering and doorstep delivery and want best value products, free from the costs incurred to support expensive salespeople or a chain of retail outlets. Simply quicker, cheaper, better!
And, what three things can we take into 2021?
- In one of the most difficult financial years on record, house prices grew by 7.5%, the best performance for 6 years. The stop / start nature of the housing market led to a queue of buyers waiting to outbid each other, illustrating the concept of 'pent up demand'. On 2nd December, it was announced that a coronavirus vaccine had been licensed for use in the UK with prospects of a return to normal life proposed for Spring 2021. It would not be unreasonable to conclude that the huge pent up demand for hairdressing services coinciding with the return to normal will create a perfect storm during 2021.
- How strange the whole Brexit affair was; four years of no progress and then, seemingly, on Christmas Eve afternoon a deal was struck and everything was just fine. Tariffs on EU imports were avoided which, put simply, means that the price of hair products imported from the EU will remain as they were. With the main brands manufacturing most of their professional hair products on the continent the deal prevented a significant price rise across the industry. Further, the ongoing threat of a 'no deal' exit saw the UK economy stifled by uncertainty for four years. With a deal now struck and Brexit behind us the prospects for the economy and disposable income are much improved.
- An NHBF report indicated that, going in to 2020, barbershops, beauty salons and nail salons were the top three retail categories that saw the highest growth in the UK. The pandemic inevitably changed all of this and, by November, nearly two thirds of salon owners feared not being able to make it to the end of the current financial year. However, with the fundamentals strong, those that have been able to weather the storm can look forward to a much brighter days ahead.
Suffice it to say, we have been proud to support you through a really tough 2020 and will continue to support you throughout 2021, come rain or shine. And, if you were ever in any doubt as to why the world needs good hairdressers, please reassure yourself by taking a look at these lockdown home cuts...