Beauty and nail salons are ‘saviours of the high street’ according to new data

by | Aug 25, 2022

New research carried out by the Local Data Company (LDC) says independent beauty and grooming salons are behind the resurgence of UK high streets

In a new report from Superscript named ‘Can independent retailers save the High Street?’ barbers, beauty salons and nail salons are ranked in the top five growing independent retail categories. 

Over the last two decades, towns and cities have been hit by shop closures due retail’s shift to e-commerce and the impact of Covid-19. In fact, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) data notes that over 10,000 chain store branches disappeared from retail locations in 2021. Closures exceeded openings, leading to a net decrease in shopping spaces. 

Despite this decline, over the last five years there has been a 2194 unit growth in beauty salons, 3247 barber shops and 952 nail salons

This data comes after the British Beauty Council’s investigation into micro-beauty businesses alongside the LDC in January 2022. The research highlighted the resilience of small businesses noting that the beauty sector grew by 1.1% between January 2020 and December 2021 compared to the overall retail and leisure sector, which declined by 3.2% over the same period.

On these findings, CEO Millie Kendall OBE said: ‘The data reveals that we have been nothing but resilient. We have a ‘long tail’ of our industry that is made up of thousands of small independents. Most have survived and thrived because they speak to so many things that the modern consumer is looking for. Such as, ways to support businesses rooted in local communities, and easy, relatively low-cost self-care.’

Superscript went on to survey 2,000 local shoppers, asking them about their attitudes towards the changing high street. 20% of respondents said they prefer to spend spare cash on looking and feeling good and over 30% said they head to salons for personal contact and communication with their beauty providers. 

The growing number of beauty spaces and the evident importance consumers place in their hairdressers and beauticians is encouraging as the industry prepares for the continuing cost of living crisis. 

That said, Global Data predicts the beauty industry to experience a 2.8% compound annual growth rate by 2023, spotlighting the ‘lipstick effect’ as a key driver. 

The financial theory – which states that when people are going through economic difficulties they are more likely to purchase less costly luxuries – can be traced back to the 1930s. Between 1929 and 1933, industrial production in the US halved but sales of cosmetics rose.

Read the full Superscript report, here

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