The COVID-19 pandemic certainly created a seismic shift in the way the world shopped. With lockdowns and store closures worldwide, consumers lost the ability to test products ahead of purchase as shopping shifted online – greatly impacting the beauty and personal care industry especially.

But in 2023, the buzz of the beauty store was back and Dr Emma Meredith, director-general of the CTPA, said the product testing this enabled was a key element in the overall joy the beauty category offered consumers.

A ‘mini pamper’ with a ‘take-home treat’

“A big part of the joy of our cosmetics and beauty products is the thrill of trying them before buying them,” Meredith told CosmeticsDesign-Europe. “To me, it feels like a mini pamper. And then you get the bonus of the take-home treat.”

During COVID-19, she said consumers were “robbed of that experience” and so today, with stores back open in full-swing, there was an added edge of appreciation.

But it wasn’t just in-store, real-product testing that was proving popular, she said. During pandemic restrictions, many beauty brands and retailers had invested in digital alternatives for shoppers to test and interact with products, offering more choice today, she said.

“Just as the agile cosmetics industry innovates to provide products that work, meeting the needs of people on a daily basis, the sector also invented creative ways to help consumers interact with their products digitally when stores were closed. As consumers, we now have the choice of testing what products work best for us at the counter, as well as via lots of digital and AI tools.”


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