Beauty salons among businesses with highest cancellations in December due to Omicron

Hair and beauty is part of the sector with the highest number of cancellations from customers in December due to the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant, according to new stats released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS). 

Beauty salons and hairdressers saw cancellations soar last month as customers stayed at home amid the accelerating spread of Omicron. The ONS revealed that 16% of all businesses reported an increase in cancellations from customers over the past month, but that this figure increased to 50% for service companies, which includes beauty salons and hairdressers. 

Accommodation and food service businesses also saw a 45% increase in cancellations in the same period, the report found. 

This news isn't surprising as another recent poll of the industry by the National Hair & Beauty Federation in mid-December revealed that 73% of salons were experiencing unprecedented cancellations during the festive period due to the Omicron variant

The Prime Minister’s announcement of Plan B restrictions back on December 8 has also had an impact in terms of the increase in cancellations, with the guidance advising people to work from home where possible.

This change in restrictions resulted in 21% of adults working from home during the three weeks to January 3, 2022 – this figure had risen from 14% over the previous period. 

In late December, 15% of all businesses also reported a shortage of workers too due to the spread of Omicron, and this was highest in the accommodation and food service activities industry at 37%, the report found. 

Meanwhile, more than a third of businesses also reported a rise in the price of materials, goods and services compared with normal expectations.

The data presented by the ONS are the final results from Wave 46 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), which was live for the period December 13–December 26. For questions regarding the past month, businesses were asked for their experience for the reference period November 29–December 26. Read the full results now.  

What do you make of the ONS’s stats? Tell us your thoughts below.

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