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NHBF survey demonstrates beauty taking brunt of pandemic

July 15, 2021

As restrictions lift across the UK, the latest National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) State of the Industry Survey shows beauty salons and professionals struggling to recover, leading to the NHBF calling for an extension of government financial support.

The survey, undertaken between 15-24 June, received 1,750 responses. It gathered views from a good representation of businesses in the Personal Care sector across all areas including city centres, town centres and villages in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Key Findings

● Business is down for three in five beauty businesses.

● One in four are making any kind of profit.

● More than a third are completely reliant on government support to remain in business (36% of beauty businesses).

● Three in four have been forced to cut staff hours.

● With furlough changes ahead, three in five could not rule out staff redundancies.

● 55% now have no savings should future lockdowns occur.

● Almost half feel unsure or pessimistic about their survival should restrictions continue.

● More widely across the hair and beauty sector, future opportunities for education and employment look unlikely, with

● only 15% of employers expecting to take on new staff in the next three months; and

● only 12% expecting to take on new apprentices (dropping further to 7% in the beauty sector).

After the initial busy period post lockdown, clients have not returned to the hair and beauty sector in the same numbers as before the pandemic, particularly in the beauty sector whose trade relies more heavily on client experience and social events. 60% of the sector is reporting business as being quieter or really quiet at present.

The Local Data Company estimates that as of May 2021, 16% of the industry has been lost to the crisis. Without careful management of the recovery, this figure could continue to rise, with the greatest impact felt by women and young people. However, with the proper support the NHBF is confident that the personal care sector will play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery.

Richard Lambert, NHBF chief executive says, “Ours is a pretty resilient sector and has begun to navigate the tapering of support from 1 July. However, we are unsure how businesses can be expected to meet these additional outgoings with no cash reserves, significant debt and operational restrictions continuing to limit the ability to generate income.

We are asking for an immediate reintroduction of the Job Retention Bonus and restraint on further increases to the National Minimum Wage and apprenticeship rate until the sector’s recovery is well-established. Plus, we need a commitment to provide further financial support should any of the four nations need to reintroduce lockdown measures.”

Survey respondents included salon or barbershop owners, chair or room renters, home-based business owners, mobile or freelance practitioners, employers and the self-employed. 75% of respondents were salon or barbershop owners. 40% covered the wider space renting, mobile and freelance section of the sector; either wholly working in this way or in addition to being a salon or barbershop owner.