30 September 2021

The latest National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) State of the Industry survey demonstrates that as COVID restrictions have eased over the summer and we move into the autumn, hair, beauty and barbering businesses are operating in a difficult environment but showing growing evidence of resilience and getting back on their feet.

The survey received 916 responses between 9-20 September 2021. It gathered views from a good representation of businesses in the Personal Care sector across all areas including city centres, town centres and villages in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The key findings are:

  • 43% are breaking even, with another 43% making either a small or good profit, up from the previous survey in June.
  • Around 40% of respondents raised their prices over the last three months. A further 40% will do so over the next three months.
  • Two thirds (66%) of businesses remain either partially or entirely reliant on Government support, slightly down from June when this was the case for 80%.

Staffing, recruitment and apprentices

  • In the next three months, 27% will definitely or are likely to take on new staff, up from 16% in June.
  • With furlough changes imminent, only 9% are considering staff redundancies over the next three months, with 30% unsure.
  •  Over the last three months, 14% have cut back on apprentices and only 15% will definitely or are likely to take on apprentices in the next three months.

Looking to the future

  • Business confidence in the sector is firming up, with nearly two thirds (63%) confident of their survival. This is much the same as in June, and as before, the level of uncertainty remains somewhat higher in the beauty sector.
  • There are signs of recovery: over 40% say that they intend to grow their business, 46% remain the same size and only 14% downsize or handover the business.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the NHBF says, “Ours is a resilient industry. Prior to the pandemic, barbershops and nail bars were propping up the high street. This latest survey shows real recovery and an overall optimistic outlook with 40% of salons saying they expect to grow.

"This is not a sector that has gone running to the government for help every time it faces a difficult time, but it is still fragile. It’s heartening to see the prospect of job losses receding, but there are also signs that any further restrictions could have a devastating effect. The government needs to maintain its support for these salons and barbershops to ensure they recover fully, continuing to provide employment and making a significant contribution to the economy as well as to the nation’s health and well-being.”

In 2019 the NHBF reported that UK’s 45,000 salon business’ (hair, beauty and barbershops) delivered a combined turnover of £8 billion.