Is barbering headed for the digital age?

54% of barbershop customers in the UK would prefer to book online or via app

One of the factors driving the resurgence of the barbering industry is the ‘modern man’s’ migration away from unisex salons and back toward barbershops. This trend-driven demand for these traditional venues has created a new breed of barbershop that caters to a youthful and stylish crowd in both design and spirit. However, one tradition that many barbers seem reluctant to change is the indifferent attitude towards technology and online bookings.

Research conducted by Mojo, who make next generation software for barbershops, and The Bluebeards Revenge has revealed that despite just 8% of UK men (aged 18-40) currently booking their haircut online, a massive 54% of barber customers in the UK would prefer to book a haircut digitally rather than walk in. In London, the results are even more resounding as an enormous 66% of men would prefer to book grooming services online.

Mojo (imagery)
54% of barbershop customers in the UK would prefer to book online or via app

“I book everything online from food to movie tickets,” said Josh Rogers, 21, a London-based student. “It almost seems strange that I have to call up or walk in and wait for a haircut. My generation wants everything on demand, it’s a convenience thing.”

Out of the survey respondents who currently walk-in, more than 50% would prefer to book online.

“Walk ins are irritating in my opinion, I want to schedule my day,” said Ben, the co-founder and master barber at a top barbershop in Central London.

“It’s an old-school industry that hasn’t quite caught up with its modernisation; most barbers have spent most their careers working with pen and paper.”

“Technology is all about exposure, finding new clients and keeping your business organized. No one wants to be left behind!”

It is evident that garnering an online presence and offering the option to book online or via an app is becoming increasingly important within the barbering industry. Mike Taylor, Head Educator and co-founder of the Great British Barbering Academy, believes now more than ever is the time for barbershops to embrace technology.

“Technology isn’t going anywhere so the sooner barbers embrace it and cater to the new ‘Facebook crowd’ generation of clients, the further ahead of the game they will be,” said Taylor.

“I see more and more barbershops moving to appointments as it helps add structure to their day and allows them to prepare for more premium, dedicated services such as a hot towel shave to match the growing demand.”

Interestingly, a barbershops’ ability to take bookings can be linked to the consumers’ perception of quality, with 79% of men choosing quality as the main requirement when booking a haircut.

“Moving forward I think online marketing tools will become increasingly important due to the competition and bookings as well as payments will all become digital,” confirmed Taylor.

Mojo (software)
Mojo develop next generation software for barbershops

This pronounced change in attitude and confidence in technology no doubt stems from the modernisation of similarly “old school” industries in recent years – online is no longer wanted, it is expected. This is prompting companies like Mojo to help make this transition easier for barbers.

“Uber and businesses like Deliveroo have created a new consumer attitude and increased expectation in terms of online booking and payment,” said Nick Sando, CEO and co-founder of Mojo. “It is now about helping barbers see the benefits of an online presence and on demand bookings, and guiding them through the change.”

The resurgence of barbering will surely lead to a developing market with endless possibilities. It is just a question of how long it will take.

The online survey of 1,200 respondents was carried out in March 2017.