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Dubai: The UAE is one of the largest beauty markets in the Middle East According to Goldstein Market Intelligence. Not only because of the heavy influx of tourists all year round, but also due to its standing as a regional beauty and social media influencer hub; this positioning encourages word of mouth and is an effective marketing tool.

With worldwide store closures in the wake of COVID-19, the beauty industry has had to shift its approach to cater to new consumer habits and needs. The UAE has not only played a part in the transition, but also swiftly adapted to it.

Responding positively to the effects of the pandemic, brands have begun switching up their manufacturing and marketing tactics. According to research firm McKinsey & Company, the global beauty industry generates $500 billion in sales a year and accounts for millions of jobs, both directly and indirectly.

In the era of 'stay safe' and contactless transactions, it comes as no surprise that consumers – even when having the option of visiting a brick-and-mortar store –opted for at-home beauty solutions instead. Philips has conducted numerous surveys to gauge public interest in a modified, more advanced offering, and the results reflected why the future of the industry, much like many others, would never be the same again.

Most popular treatments

Laser hair removal, bare legs
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A 2021 survey conducted by insight-driven research company Censuswide, commissioned by Philips, has unveiled new findings. UAE based women who took part in the poll, revealed that they had been going for hair removal treatments four times a month on average before the pandemic – the most recurring service they sought after a hair styling appointment – which they had been visiting the salon for seven times a month in pre-pandemic times.

With 16 to 24-year-olds opting for more visits to the salon across all treatment categories, when thinking about the present and future, all women surveyed expected to continue to undergo hair removal treatments four times a month on average.

Only to be topped by hair styling, for which they would go for seven times a month, hair removal was the most popular service when compared with hair colouring, haircuts, and even nail services – whether it is pre-pandemic or when considering their choices in the wake of COVID-19.

DIY was (and still is) big

Another interesting finding detailed how 90 per cent of the UAE women who have taken part in the survey had learned to do beauty treatments by themselves during the pandemic, with 45 to 54-year-olds taking the lead in this aspect.

Hair removal was the most commonly acquired skill with 55 per cent of the women surveyed learning how to do it on their own; it was followed by 52 per cent for manicures/pedicures, 48 percent for styling, 41 per cent for colouring and 39 per cent for haircuts. When asked about at-home beauty, almost nine out of 10 of respondents who have learned to do beauty treatments by themselves during the pandemic said that they were likely to continue with self-treatment.

Safety and money

But what were the reasons for this move towards a self-taught approach? Primarily because, due to the pandemic, 63 per cent of the women surveyed felt safer at home. However, 60 per cent have listed saving money as the main reason, with almost half of respondents citing 'enjoyment' as their motive. Moreover, 18 per cent of the women revealed that they had invested in the right products to meet their beauty goals – no salon required.

The Philips survey has shown that 95 per cent of women in the UAE who have learned to do any beauty treatments by themselves during the coronavirus pandemic had purchased a product to help them at home; while manicure/pedicure home kits came first, hair removal strips came second, with 22 per cent opting for an epilator and 13 per cent for a hair removal device. Hence, with 44 per cent of the women surveyed in the UAE more likely to consider professional beauty treatments at home in the future and 41 per cent to replace some of their salon visits with professional beauty treatments within their own abodes, it can only be concluded that a highly efficient hair removal device would be in demand. As a result, tech companies had to adapt and create products for the women doing it themselves at home. Philips for example has launched a hair removal device, the Lumea Series 9000 for hair removal. Other brands have launched at home gelish nail kits and of course the usual blow driers and more.