Data from the leading provider of payment and booking services for the hair, beauty and wellness industry, booksalon, shows that a majority of British salon appointments are made outside opening hours.
Booksalon’s insights are based on data from more than 460,000 appointment bookings and show a clear customer preference for flexibility.
This is a challenge for British salons, where many still operate with paper and phone to schedule appointments for their clients. A 2020 study showed that 75% of British salons did not use any digital booking systems, resulting in an estimated industry loss of over £1.2 billion from missed appointments alone. Booksalon’s data suggests that salon owners who do not use digital booking solutions miss out on many potential customers by restricting booking opportunities to business hours.
“People are getting used to digital access to anything they need, at any time. The hair and beauty industry is no different, and we see an increasing trend where appointments are booked outside opening hours. It’s much easier to find time to do this on the train to work or at breakfast than calling in during work. There is no doubt that those British salons who are able to digitise will take an increasing market share going forward,” says Harri Myllylä, CEO of booksalon.
The UK has seen a rapid digital transformation in recent years, with Brits ranking among the top users of digital solutions like social media and online shopping in Europe. Numbers for cashless payments have also grown substantially, with cash payments dropping by as much as 35% even before the Covid-19 pandemic. With more and more Brits taking to digital payment solutions, online services for appointment bookings and payments are in increasing demand. Booksalon’s data shows 85% of appointment bookings happen on mobile devices, suggesting Brits book their appointments on the move.
“Where the UK in the past has been behind countries like the Nordics for digital payment and booking solutions, we’ve seen a rapid increase in the past few years, especially after the pandemic. With that, digital transition for the industry isn’t just about additional services; it’s becoming a requirement to stay in business,” Myllylä continues.
Another interesting data point from booksalon is about access to digital gift cards. A popular gift for occasions like Christmas, Mother’s Day or birthdays, there is a distinct difference between when Brits buy gift cards and when they book their appointments. By far, most gift cards are bought during the day, at lunchtime or in the early afternoon. Globally, the majority of gift cards are still purchased only on December 23, showing that people do their gift shopping, especially beauty treatment gift shopping, at the very last minute.
Booksalon also sees a clear preference for buying gift cards last minute, with most sales happening close to major gift-giving holidays. For Christmas, the last four days before Christmas Day are the busiest. In total, salons sell five times more gift cards in December than in an average month. For entrepreneurs, gift cards are a great way to balance income, as quieter times are compensated by gift card sales spikes.
“Gift cards are an increasingly popular way to show appreciation for a loved one, and our data shows most of them are bought during work hours. That could be because lunchtime is a good time to quickly pop out and buy a gift, but it could also speak to the lack of easy access to these products online. With more salons allowing customers to shop online, these numbers are likely to change over time,” Myllylä concludes.
Booksalon’s platform has over 5000 salons spread across multiple EU markets. The company has experienced a YoY growth of more than 300%, an outstanding NPS score of 70, and a churn rate lower than 0.5%. The company operates in the UK, Ireland and the Nordics.