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The biggest beauty trends of 2022 are already emerging inside spas, salons, and barbershops — and inside Instagram Lives, text messages from beauty brands, and intuitive appointment booking experiences. With the rise of product trends like sustainable skincare and celebrity beauty brands, businesses are rapidly adopting new strategies and tactics to bring concepts and products directly to clients.
To identify the top beauty industry trends guiding these professionals’ next moves, we partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 500 salon and spa owners and 1,000 consumers. We also interviewed Square beauty experts and creative business owners. We discovered that beauty businesses have a complex set of needs — omnichannel experiences, customer communication, in-person and online booking, contactless payments — and that beauty professionals use integrated beauty solutions to satisfy those needs each step of the way.
Whether you run a cosmetics brand, sell skincare products and services, or run a hair salon franchise, this list of the top trends in the beauty industry will help give your business a leg up in 2022 and beyond.
All data cited below come from the survey results. For more insights, download the full Future of Beauty report.
The 7 biggest trends for the beauty industry
- Social media helps build customer connections
- Conversational commerce is gaining steam
- An omnichannel booking experience saves time
- Salon and spa owners are expanding into retail
- Digital offerings help beauty sellers find new audiences
- Creating a comfortable experience is crucial post-pandemic
- Contactless payments will be a key part of the salon experience
#1. Social media helps build customer connections and is an untapped channel to fill appointments
In 2022, beauty businesses are using their social channels to create new opportunities for customers to interact with their spas and salons. This can include adding links to book appointments right in their bios or creating shoppable posts on Instagram.
Social media channels, especially Instagram, are a visual reflection of a brand and can be the sole reason that new customers book an appointment. Our Future of Beauty report found that 37% of salon and spa owners allow clients to book over social media, and 19% of customers have booked through the channel.
For beauty businesses, social channels have taken on a new meaning with the rise of beauty influencers and influencer marketing. This enables salon and spa owners to showcase their expertise and knowledge of rising industry trends. From clean beauty to at-home manicure kits, social media is typically where beauty trends start and spread, with influencers showing followers exactly what the trends are and explaining where they can buy the products or redeem the services mentioned.
Having a social media presence is beneficial from a brand and sales perspective, and it can lead to more customer communication and engagement. Our research found that 47% of customers used social media to interact with their salon or stylist, and 45% of beauty businesses started to use social media to connect with customers during the pandemic.
#2. Conversational commerce is gaining steam as new form of eCommerce
Staying connected and building stronger relationships with customers is a key focus for the beauty industry. Conversational commerce, enabled by automated technology, is getting more popular among beauty practitioners as a way to make customers feel in the know, 24/7. The term refers to a form of eCommerce that allows businesses to communicate digitally with customers in real-time through apps, texts, chatbots, push notifications, or AI assistants like Square Assistant.
Our research shows that over one in three beauty businesses allow customers to book appointments through text or chat functionality. Automation is essential in making conversational commerce work, evident in its rise among beauty professionals, which has been accelerated by the pandemic.
Over half (53%) of beauty businesses used automated technology to confirm appointments through voice chat and text messaging before COVID-19, while 27% started to use the technology after the pandemic began.
#3. An omnichannel booking experience can help business owners save time and reach clients online
Digitizing appointments has been key to meeting emerging consumer needs in the beauty industry. Before the pandemic 55% of beauty businesses used automated technology to schedule appointments, while 25% started to use it after the pandemic started.
An appointments tool that manages schedules and gives customers autonomy over their booking date may be key to success in 2022. Our Future of Beauty report found that a significant 98% of salon and spa owners say that having an integrated app to manage all areas of their beauty businesses would free up their staff for more important, hands-on work, such as building relationships with clients. The importance of an omnichannel booking experience is heightened with the labor shortage this year, since it can be one less task for staff to worry about.
Want to explore more about the omnichannel booking trend? An online appointments service like Square Appointments gives customers the control to choose their appointments, make changes if needed, and trust that they’ll be reminded leading up to the date. It’s also open all day, meaning that beauty professionals won’t miss out on making an appointment because no one was around to answer the phone.
#4. Salon and spa owners are expanding into retail
One of the top beauty salon trends is that retail has become a trend. In 2022, beauty sellers are expanding their businesses into multiple streams of revenue, the biggest of which is retail. Over one in four (26%) consumers bought retail products from salons and spas, while one in four beauty businesses say that half or more of their revenue now comes from retail products.
With new channels come new revenue streams, but if online and in-store retail offerings are not correctly managed, they could be more of a setback than an advantage. When it comes to managing product sales, technology makes salon inventory management easier. Offering beauty products online or for pickup or delivery can also streamline processes.
Many beauty businesses are starting online stores to sell their products and services. One big benefit of an online store is that customers can shop, peruse, and book appointments at whatever time is best for them. With the right set of health and beauty website features, owners can encourage customers to buy their retail offerings in addition to taking other actions, like schedule a service.
In a salon beauty professionals might be limited by shelf space, but an online store allows businesses to broaden their inventory, opening up opportunities to increase cash flow and attract new customers.
#5. Digital offerings are allowing beauty sellers to find new audiences
A salon or spa clientele doesn’t have to be limited to a geographical location. To engage with audiences from afar, beauty professionals are trying out videos and livestreams to showcase their services, to create beauty tutorials, to advertise products, and to engage with their audiences in new ways.
Our Future of Beauty report found that 51% of beauty practitioners say that online tutorials will continue to help engage clients post-pandemic, while 52% say the same for virtual classes and 41% for livestream beauty tutorials.
These new service offerings open up revenue streams and are beneficial for customers looking for at-home tips and guidance to supplement their salon experiences. For example, Jenna Sharma, the owner of spray-tan studio BlushTan Worcester, sells products that help her clients maintain results, making the service she provides even more worthwhile to her dedicated clientele.
#6. Creating a relaxing and comfortable experience is crucial post-pandemic
Given the personal nature of beauty and personal care services, it’s no wonder that creating a safe environment is top of mind for business owners. In fact, 9 in 10 beauty businesses say that they struggle to balance COVID-19 safety guidelines with a relaxing environment.
While shutdowns temporarily halted appointments throughout the pandemic, customers are eager to get back to their regularly scheduled appointments as spas, salons, and barbershops reopen. The beauty industry is built on customer loyalty and in-person experiences, making reopening even more important. In fact, 78% of consumers say that regular beauty services are important to retain a sense of normalcy.
Beauty companies feel the same way. “We put so much energy into providing for our client. And we are a group of individuals who really do believe in the attitude of servitude,” says Kelly McCarthy, vice president of supply chain and training at MY SALON Suite. “We are there to please. We’re there to make you feel amazing. We’re there to create life-changing hair or nails or to give you a massage of a lifetime. No matter what the craft is, we’re all service providers. And we give all of ourselves when we are providing a service.”
#7. Contactless payments will be a key part of the salon experience in 2022
Clients want to get back to their regularly scheduled haircuts, makeup applications, and other beauty services, which is why payment solutions are top of mind for business owners who aim to make the experience relaxing and seamless. Our research found that 25% of customers say that they would like beauty businesses to offer contactless payment options to continue to promote health and safety.
Beauty professionals have multiple options when it comes to contactless payments. Mobile payments enable customers to use their mobile phones to pay for their purchases, meaning they can book easily through a website or an Instagram post. EMV chip payments allow clients to insert their cards into an NFC Reader quickly, whereas QR codes let customers scan the code with their phone cameras, add their credit card information, and pay for service all on their own.
And a salon’s front desk isn’t the only place to pay for a beauty service anymore. Whether it’s using QR codes or paying with mobile payment options such as Apple Pay or Cash App, contactless payment options are a priority for customers. They are also an increasingly popular trend for spas and salons, helping clients feel comfortable post-pandemic while making it easy to pay for services wherever they are.
These are the top trends beauty practitioners are looking at to take their businesses to the next level in 2022.
Salons and beauty businesses are in an ever-evolving era, where they are branching out, diversifying their skills and revenue streams, and connecting with customers on new levels. In 2022, the digital tools that enable salon owners to keep up with this mindset could be at the forefront of how beauty professionals build and grow businesses that turn clients into lifelong fans.
Looking for more insights on how beauty businesses are innovating in 2022? Get a deeper look into these popular beauty trends in the 2022 edition of our Future of Beauty report.