How the pandemic can help boost sales

It’s no secret that it has been a crazy couple of years. Lockdowns, border closures and now the omicron variant, as business owners we have had to learn to be agile and expect the unexpected. I have been running my business for 16 years and I’ve never faced such unpredictability.

My business, SkinB5, is a global derma-nutraceutical based skincare line with customers all over the world. So, when COVID hit Australian shores, we quickly experienced disruption in our supply chain.

We were initially impacted by the lockdowns happening across the globe and at home in Australia. Our orders could not go overseas because planes were grounded. As a business, this was an extremely stressful time – we had no idea how long it would last and when things would “go back to normal”. It has been two years and I still would not say we know when that will be.

We persevered through the early stages of the pandemic, and eventually, supply chains started to resume and although it was taking longer, we could ship our orders again. It was a huge relief.

Our sales bounced back and interestingly our export market got stronger. In fact, our sales in the Philippines and South Korea grew almost 180 per cent and 200 per cent respectively, despite the continued COVID disruptions in those countries. We saw our retail partners with an existing strong online presence also have sales hold strong despite continued lockdowns.

So, why is this? Well, I believe the pandemic has completely shifted our beauty expectations and skin trends, with customers increasing drawn to ingestible beauty products that can also boost their immunity and inner health. I noticed three key factors driving this: a shift towards natural beauty; a stronger focus on wellness; and the increased time we spend looking at ourselves in front of a camera – zoom fatigue hit us all hard!

I know for me and my network, the lockdowns and working from home has changed our routines a lot. Women who used to spend hours getting ready in the mornings have now completely ditched their elaborate routines and go make-up free or have a minimal, natural make-up look. This shift has driven up demand for natural beauty products, including skincare, in Australia and around the world.

On the other hand, we have probably never spent this much time looking at our faces – from virtual meetings to zoom drinks, we were spending most of our days in front of a camera. Any little pimples or blemishes were now staring back at us all day from our screens. We recently conducted research that revealed a whopping one in two (58%) Australians feel self-conscious about their skin.

These factors have led people to invest more in their skincare. Almost half (43 per cent) of Australians report they are becoming more selective of the products they use, and we have seen this reflected in our sales, with many of our customers finding our range in their search for high-quality products.

Looking back now, we were one of the lucky businesses and have done well despite the uncertainty of the pandemic. It is clear we are all still figuring out was this “new normal” as society looks like but I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned over the last two years.

My best advice for business owners is to be prepared to make changes to your business to become more resilient, keep your eyes and ears open to fast-shifting consumer trends and find creative ways to adapt to our ever-changing COVID world, have faith in your vision and stay true to what your customers need and want from your brand.