Pandemic Lockdown Makes Deep Cuts in the Salon Industry
Wed, April 21, 2021

Pandemic Lockdown Makes Deep Cuts in the Salon Industry


Lockdown restrictions aimed to prevent Covid-19 transmissions have led beauty therapy, waxing, nail, tanning, and hair salons in different countries to be closed. / Photo by Parilov via Shutterstock


Lockdown restrictions aimed to prevent Covid-19 transmissions have led beauty therapy, waxing, nail, tanning, and hair salons in different countries to be closed. It was a necessary move to flatten the curve but it made deep cuts in the salon industry.


Salon industry disrupted by coronavirus pandemic

In Columbia, hairstylist Robin Gottlieb shared via local news provider WLTX that she “didn’t feel that it was safe to continue” doing business. When they shampoo someone or cut their bangs, for instance, their face is right by their customer’s face. So, closing her business before the official lockdown was for the staff’s protection and the protection of their clients as well as their families. The hairstylist added that health is not the only concern for people in the profession but also their finances.

US-based hairstylist Alex was seeing 10 to 15 clients per day in a salon in Portland, Oregon. He had a steady income and was living the life he always wanted since he was a teen. Featured in the Washington Post, Alex said he never thought he would have to risk his health and the health of his customers in the job he was in until the coronavirus pandemic hit the world. Now, his common job became a high-risk one. He received a text from his salon manager that he and his colleagues were already out of a job so he ventured into house calls but doing so means violating the stay-at-home order by their governor. “I feel like a criminal,” he said, asking that his last name not be revealed because he did not want to get in trouble for still rendering barbering services.


When they shampoo someone or cut their bangs, for instance, their face is right by their customer’s face.  / Photo by Alexander Egizarov via Shutterstock


No takeout offer for salons

Juut Salon Spas owner David Wagner likewise said that his chain of 10 salons spas, including one in Palo Alto, California, got hit by the pandemic. Even before the social distancing orders went into effect in their state, he voluntarily closed all the salon locations. Now, their governor ordered salons to stop their operations. At that time, their team and their customers applauded them for their decision because it seemed bold, but today it is “common sense.”

Wagner said that if restaurants can still provide takeout services or shops offer virtual shopping, such a thing cannot be done in salons. The options are not there for additional income, he continued. This is why they are encouraging their guests to book appointments online so they can be served in the future. He is just grateful for their clients who were understanding and supportive and looks forward to when they can already do a haircut without wearing gloves. The spa owner also said that he had never closed the business aside from the occasional snowstorm but the pandemic is “unparalleled.” Even after the September 11 terrorist attack, there were still clients coming into their salons despite the fear and trauma they were having. They came to feel and look better.



House calls for barbers and hairstylists

On the other hand, the temporary closure of salons has led to a boom for those who have always been serving clients through house calls. Many said their phones are filled with calls and texts from new clients but the threat of acquiring the virus still creeps in. Manhattan barber Rene Guemps has also been cutting hair for 28 years and he has been focused on house calls. Guemps shared that he is still adjusting to the new routine. He now wears a surgical mask and constantly sprays his shoes and clothes with Lysol. Upon entering a client’s house, he would wash his hands for a full 30 seconds, put gloves on, ask the client to also wear a mask, and sometimes discourage talking.

There are still salons in some states that are open but they follow rigorous sanitary practices. Tulsa-based Salon Service Group’s sales consultant and hairstylist Gretchen Everton said via Washington Post that in one salon she works in, the clients were seated in their cars while their hairs were color processed to avoid having more than ten people inside the salon at once. Everton believes that it is more than just getting the gray hair covered up, but also a therapy session for the clients.

In 2018, salons and spas in the US alone generated $44 billion in revenues each year. The industry grew at an average of 1.8% annualized rate from 2012 to 2017. About 1 million firms are operating in the country salon and spa industry, providing jobs for more than 1.4 million people. The revenue of the US spa industry in 2008 was $12.8 billion, 2009 ($12.3 billion), 2010 ($12.8 billion), 2011 ($13.4 billion), 2012 ($14 billion), 2013 ($14.7 billion), 2014 ($15.5 billion), 2015 ($16.3 billion), 2016 ($16.8 billion), and 2017 ($17.5 billion).

The primary need for customers who visit establishments in the salon industry is haircut and styling services, accounting for over 45% of the revenue opportunities.



How much a haircut costs around the world

How much people shell out for a haircut depends on where they live. Cities with the highest women haircut prices include Oslo ($95.04), Zurich ($86.71), Geneva ($83.97), New York City ($73.33), Copenhagen ($67.99), and Luxembourg ($67.76). Meanwhile, cities with the lowest women haircut prices include Jakarta ($4.63), Manila ($6.18), Beijing ($9.27), Kiev ($9.90), Nairobi ($10.35), and Johannesburg ($11.81).

Cities with the highest men’s haircut prices are Oslo ($77.72), Copenhagen ($52.55), Zurich ($50.79), Stockholm ($48.82), and Geneva ($44.07). Contrarily, cities with the lowest men’s haircut prices are Jakarta ($4.50), Beijing ($5.24), New Delhi ($5.29), Nairobi ($5.35), and Manila ($5.40). This is according to financial services company UBS. Data shows that a basic hair trim is a lot more expensive in Norway and less expensive in Indonesia. The salon industry is now bracing for a possible downturn and is affected because of the personal contact that happens in the nature of their work. However, the full extent of the Covid-19 impact on the industry has yet to be seen. Some believe that the pandemic is an illustration of the reason why salons are inspected and regulated and why beauty professionals are licensed to ensure the safety and health of those in the salon environment.