The Digital Shift Brings Spas And Meals In-House

Share Tweet Share Share Share Print Email Is the great digital shift spurring a great

Is the great digital shift spurring a great shift to personal in-home services?

Curated, chosen, scheduled and likely paid for through digital means, of course.

As reported by CNBC on Thursday (Oct. 8), personal chefs are increasingly in demand – a ripple effect of restaurant closures spurred by the pandemic.

That means more chefs are out of work, and pivoting to what might be thought of as gig work to supplement their income.

To be sure, the personal chef market is relatively small, where the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA), a trade group, estimates that there are 5,000 to 6,000 personal chefs working across the U.S. – a small slice of the roughly 128,000 chefs/cooks working throughout the country.

Angela Prather, membership and partnership manager of the trade group, told CNBC that the trend has been accelerating. Part of the reason is that even as restaurants reopen, there still exists a high risk of infection via the coronavirus, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And against the larger backdrop, all sorts of bellwether events are being held at home out of sheer necessity. Having a curated, professionally prepared meal can help offset the difficulties of not being with family and friends in person – spanning everything from weddings to anniversaries to, well, anything that makes the pandemic a bit more bearable.

The personal chef boon is but a small microcosm of what people are doing from home. In recent research done in collaboration between PYMNTS and PayPal, COVID-19 turned 40 percent of consumers from in-store shoppers to eCommerce regulars virtually overnight.

Drill down a bit, and our latest “How We Will Shop” report noted that 19 percent of respondents said they have shifted from dining in restaurants to ordering food online since the pandemic began.

There are anecdotes, say, of hairstylists making house calls, but individual efforts do not a trend make.

But drill down a bit, and there’s at least some evidence that other services are increasingly coming to the home environment, delivering the end products that can be assembled or used by consumers.

As reported last month, Axios said that ManiMe, which sells stick-on gel nails, raised $6 million in venture capital funding. The pandemic, of course, has triggered widespread closures among beauty salons. The company said that monthly sales have risen tenfold during the pandemic. ManiMe’s nail sets, priced at $15-$25 a piece, are laser-cut based on photos uploaded through the online ordering process.

And as has been noted in this space, telehealth services and subscription services are being increasingly embraced in an effort to replicate the house call, sans the in-person contact. And there’s been no shortage of home workout options – spanning hardware to software – to generate the burn once felt only in the gym (Peloton and Tempo are only part of the growing set of companies in this landscape). Last month, fitness platform Zwift announced it had raised $450 million. The company connects cyclists and runners through software to create an immersive group workout experience.

Shelter from the storm, indeed – and in-home may be the (continuing) way to go.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: HOW WE SHOP – SEPTEMBER 2020 

The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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