If you are a salon owner, technician, vendor or wholesaler, you probably have questions about how the Coronavirus will impact you and the hair industry. A majority of the hair used comes from China and other countries in that region. At the rate the virus is spreading, the concerns are valid and possibly already starting to have the potential for long term impact on this and many other industries.


No one completely knows the extent to which this virus will impact the overall business world. Back in 2003, when the deadly SARS outbreak occurred, China’s growth was slowed substantially. As of now, the lockdown China is experiencing is beyond the scale of previous events such as Japan’s earthquakes, Thailand floods, and the SARS outbreak. It is possible that the full impact of the Coronavirus will be felt for many years.

Just to put it in perspective, China is a key player in our overall global industrial infrastructure. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of goods, and responsible for approximately one-sixth of the economic export globally. With such a huge impact on the world, one important concern is the possibility of factory shutdowns. Specifically, the hair industry supply chain is critical to delivering quality hair to salons and wholesalers.

Novel Coronavirus

Another concern has to do with the potential for transmitting the virus by coming into contact with products exported from China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) addresses this concern on its website. It explains that the Coronavirus is most commonly spread through airborne or direct touch contact. Of course, the exported products have been touched by human hands, but it is unlikely that the virus will remain active after two days. Having said that, when coming into contact with any shipped product, it would always be wise to wear protective gloves, wash your hands before touching your eyes, mouth, nose or any other person.

It has been reported by several other sources that there is a high probability that reduced availability of supplies, such as hair extensions, wigs, and other hair products are likely. This is due to several factors. Not only have many factories either shut down or have reduced staff, but in addition, the companies that transport exports to other countries have been impacted in the same way.

As a precaution for containment, the Chinese New Year Holiday has been extended into February by the Chinese Government. Many Chinese families were traveling for their holiday prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. It is considered the largest human migration in the world every year. China has imposed travel restrictions to help limit the spread of the virus. As a result, many people have been unable to return to their homes and workplaces. This has caused a shortage of labor in the factories. The processing of hair is an extremely labor-intensive process. Much of the processing is done by humans, and machines don’t yet exist to perform those tasks.

What can salons and wholesalers do to navigate through this challenging situation?

  • Consider placing orders with more than one supplier as the Coronavirus may impact one supplier more than another
  • Inquire about impacts to the delivery process and/or flow, including already placed orders
  • Investigate other suppliers out of the Chinese market as a contingency supplier
  • Keep an eye on prices, as they may raise as a result of higher production costs due to a reduced workforce and limited shipping options

No one knows the full extent or impact the Coronavirus will have on the hair industry, let alone the world. During the SARS outbreak, many factories had to increase their wages in order to motivate workers to return. That may be a factor in costs going up as well. As with any breaking news story, we will continue to share information with you as it pertains to this global crisis.

To stay on top of the Novel Coronavirus, please check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

Lisa Stewart

Contributing Editor, Lisa Marie Stewart, has 40 plus years of writing, marketing, creative development, Editor-in-Chief, and Creative Director experience. Initially studying journalism and English, and ultimately received a Business Administration and Management B.S. degree with honors.

Ms. Stewart has authored, managed and directed teams at Fortune 500 companies to create corporate policies and procedures, human resource guides, emergency preparedness manuals, technical instructions, articles, newsletters, internal company magazines, retail store transition instruction guides, change orders, year-end financial brochures, website content, social media blogs, and posts.

Additionally, Lisa hosts her own YouTube channel entitled: Living My Best Life