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Men beat women to salon visits, Retail News, ET Retail

Trim & glow: Men beat women to salon visitsMumbai: Men seem to be more eager to shed their ‘lockdown’ looks than women. A larger proportion of men are thronging salons, and are not restricting themselves to mere haircuts. Male footfalls were up 3-4% as compared to women following the reopening of beauty salons.

Jean-Claude Biguine Salons found a dominant part of its clientele being men. At Enrich, a unisex chain of salons present in six cities, the female to male ratio is at 40:60. Pre-lockdown, this was at an average 70:30. Apart from beard trim, men are availing of services like manicures and pedicures.

Footfalls are still at 40-45% of what some of the salons saw in pre-Covid months (January-March). In terms of sales, however, some are at 55-60% levels. This is because although fewer people are visiting salons, they are utilising more services. If the average service count per consumer pre-lockdown was 2.1, today it stands at 3 and more.

JCB CEO Samir Srivastav said, “Men essentially always depended on their favourite salons and barber shops for their grooming needs and rarely experimented with DIY (do-it-yourself) cures. Given that digital meetings now define the new normal in a WFH (work-from-home) culture, hair and facial grooming has definitely taken centre stage. Since the lockdown, we saw a rise in the number of requests for haircuts and beard grooming. From buzz cuts to stylish trims, we have seen a wide range of demand flowing in. Beard trimming/grooming now equals haircuts in terms of services availed by our male clients in-salon.”

When cities opened up for the first time after the lockdown, pent-up behaviour was visible among consumers visiting salons. There were fewer empty slots initially due to the high demand and decreased capacity due to social distancing. The main objective of most salon businesses is to get back to pre-Covid levels.

“Footfalls are still at 40-45% of what we saw in pre-Covid months (January-March). In terms of sales, however, we are at 55-60% levels already. This is because although fewer people are visiting salons, they are consuming more services. Our average service count per consumer pre-lockdown was 2.1. Today, this stands at 3 and more,” said Enrich Salon director Sachin Kamat.

In pre-Covid times, BBlunt had a 70:30 female to male client ratio. In Mumbai, the trend since opening after the lockdown is around 55:45 female to male. “Since we are steering clear from offering high-contact face services like facials, face waxing and threading, beauty business is naturally low, which had majority of women customers. Also, men who visit salons for a haircut or manicures-pedicures visit more frequently than their female counterparts,” said BBlunt CEO Spoorthy Shetty.

Srivastav, however, said women consumers have also started coming to salons, getting all services done in a single visit.

Long-term consumer trends will change, said Shetty, with consumers wanting less in-salon time. With ‘safe salon’ experience being the most common ask, hygiene is expected to take over sustainability, she added. “Clients want to see more visible space, less clutter, less touch & feel, shopping by appointment, contactless engagement & payment,” said Shetty.

While JCB introduced waterless manicure and pedicures to reduce contact, Enrich is using single-use cases for services like waxing and facials.

“In markets where facials are allowed, we use acrylic sheets to create a distance between the service provider and consumer. We tried and tested all these products during the lockdown,” said Kamat.

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