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Here’s what beauty industry bodies are saying about the state of the sector

By Rebecca Hitchon | 14 October 2023 | News

State Of Industry

Two beauty industry bodies have commented on how the sector is faring and how it will cope this winter…


The latest quarterly State of the Industry survey from the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) shows that the hair and beauty sector remains stable.

Receiving 530 responses from UK personal care businesses in September, the signs of positivity seen in April and July’s surveys have slowed across some indicators, but there has been a slight rise in businesses making a small or good profit (45%) and a slight decline in the number of businesses making a loss. Compared to the previous surveys, a similar number of businesses (42%) say they are breaking even.

The survey reveals that the trend towards increasing prices is stabilising, as is reliance on external support. Over the previous three months, 55% of businesses surveyed raised their prices, and 51% revealed they will do so over the next three months. 44% of the businesses said that they are not reliant on continued support, while 56% are either partially or completely reliant.

Three quarters of the businesses surveyed are confident in their survival.

What also remains the same are staffing and recruitment intentions, with only 27% of those surveyed definitely or likely to take on new staff in the next three months. 63% said they are unlikely to be hiring, or definitely won’t be.

Throughout the survey responses, comments focused on the burden of the VAT threshold, the challenge of being an employer salon, affording premises and staff overheads, and there are concerns around businesses choosing to take on self-employed workers to avoid staff costs.

Rosina Robson, NHBF director of policy and public affairs, comments: “While there is not the same headline growth as in the past two quarters, most of the indicators haven’t fallen and some of the net trends show an improvement. This slower growth might reflect the summer months being a relatively quieter period.

“Businesses are still under pressure from all sides, including high inflation, energy costs, rising wage costs and the lack of availability of experienced staff to grow their business: all of which the NHBF is working with government to tackle, whilst we ensure we provide real solutions, solid support and advice for our members.

“Support on business rates and for energy bills has been very welcome over the last year, and we call on the government to renew the valuable 75% discount for retail into 2024/25. This would give certainty to sector businesses and enable them to grow and provide valuable employment.”.


The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) has warned that winter could be detrimental for the beauty industry, with rising bills and low consumer spending, therefore potential business closures.

Speaking to its members, BABTAC found that 93.58% of salon owners had seen a considerable increase in rent and utility rates in the past year, with 10% experiencing a 200% increase, 40% a 100% increase and 44% a 50% increase.

Lesley Blair MBE, CEO & chairperson of BABTAC, comments: “The cost of living crisis and rise in energy prices is a huge concern for many beauty businesses. We’re hearing from our members that the ongoing strain of bills is just another blow to those who have already had to contend with the negative impact of the pandemic, which was estimated to be an average financial loss of £11,603 on earnings.”

With bills rising, treatment prices are set to be affected, but with consumer spending low because of the cost of living crisis, beauty treatments could be one of the first things they cut.

With this in mind, BABTAC raises concerns about consumers opting for cheaper, unregulated or DIY treatments while they are affected by the cost of living, risking their safety in the process.

Lesley Blair MBE continues: “Cheaper treatments could potentially mean cheaper quality, be this in terms of qualification, products or insurance.

“The concern is that with the price of treatments increasing, consumers will instead seek out lower cost alternatives or DIY treatments. With so much of the beauty industry largely unregulated, it’s more important than ever to do proper research before trusting a therapist or buying a DIY beauty treatment.”

These concerns are why BABTAC launched T.I.M.E in January, a regulatory checklist helping consumers to choose evidence-based, professional fit for purpose services. Find out more here.