The pent-up demand for beauty services puts the industry on the path to rebirth

Since the last Covid-19 blockade was lifted late last year, Phan Nguyen Ngoc Nhi, 35, and her husband have visited a spa in Hanoi’s Hoan Kiem district every Saturday afternoon.

Although he only gets a basic facial, which costs around VND 400,000 ($ 17.47), Nhi has a VND 20 million ($ 875) skin rejuvenation package.

“After the pandemic, I want to invest more in myself,” says Nhi.

“I want to indulge myself, receive beauty treatments to make up for all the opportunities lost during social distancing.”

The couple is among more and more people making appointments for facials and others at spas and clinics. After months of absence since the spa closed, the pent-up demand is fueling a steady recovery in the market.

Twice as busy

At 2:00 pm on a Saturday in early April, the two-story Mega Gangnam Cosmetic Clinic in HCMC District 1 was packed with clients receiving face and skin rejuvenation treatments.

With 23 of the 25 beds upstairs occupied, the harassed employees provided consultations and treatment advice downstairs as new customers continued to pour in.

At the front desk, the phone rang constantly, leaving the operator to juggle between answering the phone with one hand and clicking the computer mouse with the other to figure out the next available time slot.

“Weekends are our busiest days. We operate almost at full capacity from 9:00 to 17:00,” says Huynh Nhat Minh, marketing manager at Mega Gangnam.

Shortly after all lockdowns ended last fall, Minh’s clinic was receiving 40-50 clients per week. Since the beginning of 2022 the number has doubled to 80-100, with a 150% increase compared to the beginning of 2021 in the number of people asking for information.

Mega Gangnam is just one of many beauty and spa clinics across the country that are thriving now.

While the Covid-19 pandemic has forced many smaller ones out of business, those with the deepest pockets have managed to stay afloat and even grow.

Mega Gangnam, for example, which had a clinic in both Hanoi and HCMC, opened two more branches, one in HCMC District 10 and one in Da Nang City.

Most are seeing a significant increase in bookings and consultations for both surgical and non-surgical treatments, heralding a strong recovery by the industry.

According to Nguyen Minh Tam, an employee of a clinic on Nguyen Van Troi Street in HCMC’s Phu Nhuan district, all 50 beds in his home are occupied on Saturday mornings by people who come for liposuction and laser skin treatments.

“Since the fourth wave of the pandemic we have lost seven employees who have returned to their hometowns and have not returned, so we are in a hurry to hire new staff to fill their jobs and meet the increased demand.”

According to many spa and clinic owners, the biggest demand is for facials, skin whitening, and Botox injections at prices ranging from a couple to tens of millions of dong (10 million VND = $ 430).

Clients are of all ages and from all walks of life, including men who are increasingly looking to improve their appearance.

“After the Lunar New Year, some men visited our liposuction clinic to get the best look before returning to work,” says Tam. The procedure costs VND 1.9 million ($ 83).

In recent years, with one of the fastest growing middle classes in Southeast Asia and rising disposable income as well as increased awareness of good looks, Vietnam has become a promising market for beauty and care products and services. person.

According to the Vietnam Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the country has dozens of hospitals and plastic surgery departments within hospitals, hundreds of dermatology and plastic surgery clinics, and thousands of skin care companies.

The report from German market and consumer data company Statista titled Consumer Market Outlook states that the Vietnamese beauty and personal care market was worth $ 2.1 billion in 2020 with the three main segments being personal care, care skin and cosmetics.

This happened despite a slight decline in 2020 due to the pandemic and Statista expects the market to grow again as consumers regain confidence in spending and estimates that revenues will reach $ 2.8 billion by 2024.

This positive outlook for the country’s beauty market is part of a broader strong post-pandemic rebound expected globally.

According to the US nonprofit The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), beauty and personal care are the largest segment in the $ 4.4 trillion global wellness industry, which grew 6.6% to year between 2017 and 2019 and is expected to grow by 9.9% in the year 2020-25.

Of all the major regions, Asia-Pacific was the least affected by the pandemic.

According to GWI’s “The Global Wellness Economy: Country Rankings, February 2022” report, Vietnam’s wellness industry was worth $ 16.7 billion in 2020 and ranked 33rd out of 150 economies.

Confidence renewed

For consumers like HCMC District 3’s Nguyen Ngoc Diep, since the fourth wave of the pandemic subsided, spending money on pampering their bodies and looks has become an option again.

Many people have returned to work, have regained some financial stability and are willing to spend again.

Over the past few months, Diep, 32, a real estate agent who didn’t have good deals last year, has found new clients and feels confident about spending money on her looks now.

He says, “I was out of work last year. Now I can work again and I don’t mind spending VND3 million ($ 131) every month to beautify my appearance.”

Le Thu Hoai, PR manager of Lavender By Chang luxury spa, which has a branch in both Hanoi and HCMC, agrees.

“People can make money and are willing to spend again.”

Emphasize that beauty services are always in demand by upper-class clients, especially wealthy married women.

According to some spa owners, many middle- and upper-class clients have not been severely affected by the pandemic and have simply resumed their usual spending levels.

Tam says another reason for the increase in demand for post-pandemic beauty products is that many families with unvaccinated children have not yet resumed vacation travel and as a result have more time and money to spend on beauty services. .

Although the beauty business is steadily returning to normal, the pandemic has left some lasting impacts. For example, as the Covid threat persists, many beauty salons take strict security measures to reassure their customers.

Lavender By Chang disinfects its premises twice a day, while Mega Gangnam’s four spas have their beds spaced more widely to keep social distance.

“All of our staff wear masks and we disinfect every corner once a day,” says Minh.

“We are strict when it comes to Covid prevention, so our customers feel safe using our services.”

With the end of the pandemic in Vietnam and the number of serious cases and deaths plummeting due to a high vaccination rate, Diep is among those who feel confident to return to their favorite beauty spots.

Diep, who goes to the spa with his mother every two weekends, says: “I’m fully vaccinated and things are returning to normal, so I’m no longer worried about the pandemic.”

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