It goes without saying that retail has experienced a bumpy ride over the past few years. 2021 was an extremely challenging time for retailers in the UK with store closures an acceleration of what was happening in the marketplace pre Covid (PWC) with regards to large, cumbersome department stores, heritage brands with a declining customer base and high rates and rents. More than 17 000 chain store outlets closed in 2021, whilst this sounds phenomenal bear in mind that this figure includes fashion retailers, restaurants, bars, and gyms as well as banks and hairdressers – essentially service-related industries. Shopping centers which in the past drew in heavy footfall, have now fallen to being the worst performing in the past two years.
Retailers that we are all familiar with – from Debenhams to the Arcadia Group disappeared from the landscape. Following a very difficult time, 38.5% of UK retail sales still took place online in March 2021, whilst a decline of 63% a year earlier, this is still 9.2 percentage points ahead of the 29.3% recorded in 2019.
The New Customer Mindset for 2022
If you are exploring the UK marketplace for the first time, it is still a very attractive, whilst competitive marketplace to launch within. The UK beauty marketplace is made up of online and bricks and mortar speciality health and beauty retailers, pharmacies, department stores, supermarkets, and value retailers. UK consumers spend on average £487 per head on health and beauty product in 2022 (Global Data), over the next five-years they will be investing even more leading to an additional £73 per head. This makes this one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK. 9 out of 10 health and beauty shoppers still purchase products in store, but the spend is shifting online with online sales said to reach £3.1 billion by 2022.
Retailers have increased their online offering significantly since the pandemic, and this looks set to continue, with several of them having introduced new categories such as wellness. ASOS have partnered with brands including Lush, Marks & Spencer have invested in bringing on board more established beauty brands like Clinique and Benefit, and we have also seen retailers investing in training their staff about health and wellness like Holland & Barrett. There is a heightened interest in supporting black-owned beauty brands. Sustainability is a focal point with many questioning the sustainable credentials of a brand. Retailers like Sainsbury’s have introduced online marketplaces, like Debenhams to support the growth of indie beauty brands.
We are currently working with a number of companies on their go-to-market strategies. If you are interested in exploring whether the UK should form part of your retail strategy, and you are looking for support with securing your store locations, get in touch today to find out how we can support you.
‘Thrilled to be working with Bespoke Advantage. They have already done some great things for Hollywood Browzer Beauty in the very short time we’ve been working together. Looking forward to the future!’
‘Unless someone comes from a background in this industry, you wouldn’t know what is required. Not only do I have the support of an experienced team to help me to make things happen and to grow my brand, but I also have a great personal relationship with Janet and her team, working in this way means I have someone to turn to, to share the journey of running a business.’
‘Through Janet’s management skills, expertise and proven track record on the job she successfully managed the purchasing of our retail operations and ensured the integrity of our brands in-stores. Her enthusiasm and total dedication, delivered results in any project she was involved in.’
‘Bespoke Advantage helped us to bring our brand to life creatively and strategically. We have a clear strategy in place, with a distinctive brand message that enables us to articulate our brand to retailers and to journalists.’
‘Janet has excellent beauty market knowledge. Level headed with clear vision, direction and the ability to drive business forward, Janet led the teams through a complete product design change advising on what the key marketing messages should be, incorporating her technical knowledge and beauty expertise.’
‘Janet has a wealth of experience across retail, buying and marketing. She conducted a full strategic review of our cross functional business and the travel retail market to develop a comprehensive buying and quality control strategy that was signed off at board level. I highly recommend her as an asset to any business.’
‘Janet is extremely professional, knowledgeable and thorough, an expert of her field. This shone through from our first conversation, which instinctively led me to want to work with Bespoke Advantage. As a new skincare brand the expertise of Bespoke Advantage has been invaluable.’
‘Janet, absolutely fantastic to meet you today. Thoroughly enjoyed The Beauty Workshop. You definitely excel in your area and beyond.’
‘Many thanks again for all the help, support and words of encouragement, as I said before, best and most sensible thing I’ve done in developing my beauty ideas is to engage with you!’
‘It’s been inspirational working with Janet. We are in the process of launching a skincare brand however have received conflicting opinions from so many people we were really confused. I am so impressed by Janet’s knowledge and experience in product development, marketing and retail and the way she explains everything so clearly. She is very motivating and positive, and so much fun to work with. I have much more clarity and confidence in how to move things forward.’