It’s Not Just You — 1 in 3 Consumers Are in an Open Relationship with Their Hairstylist According to a New Square Survey


A new survey by Square, the largest business technology platform serving all kinds of businesses, analyzes the relationship between clients and their hair stylist, uncovering that 1 in 3 of consumers are in an “open relationship” with their provider. For those in an “open relationship” with their stylist or barber, this sentiment was most common for younger generations like Gen Z and Millennials, along with men. 

Square’s survey highlights key factors that can either make or break long-lasting client loyalty in the beauty and personal care industry, and it dives into other consumer behavior changes over the years that are important for salon professionals. The survey was conducted online from May 2 to May 8, 2024 among 2,009 adults in the US. and 1,002 adults in Canada, with data being weighted to demographically reflect the makeup of the general population in both countries. Now let’s get into the results!

Returning to consumers who are in an “open relationship” with their provider, these clients primarily faced operational and logistical barriers which caused them to visit another:

  • Difficulty in scheduling/booking their appointment (57%)
  • Services becoming too expensive (53%)
  • Either party moving (50%)
  • They didn’t listen to what I asked (41%)
  • Our personalities didn’t mesh (34%)

After exploring other relationships beyond their primary stylist, Square found that 61% of clients regretted going to another provider. Given that many originally strayed for practical reasons, it’s no surprise that more than half of consumers (57%) went back to their original stylist, while only 30% opted to stay with their new provider. Another 13% remain committed to playing the field, with plans to keep seeing new stylists until they find “the one.”

The survey also found that convenience and ease continue to be top drivers when consumers pick a stylist or barber. For clients that explored other relationships, they reported that they’d return to their previous provider if they had access to the following:

  • Easy rescheduling (82%)
  • Better communications between or before appointments (75%)
  • Online booking options (53%)
  • Loyalty discounts (52%)
  • Selling retail items (25%)

Although a third of consumers are “playing the field,” Square found that 67% are in a committed relationship with their hair care provider. Among this cohort of committed consumers, 68% have been visiting their provider for 3 or more years, showing that for many, they’re in it for the long haul and invested in maintaining the relationship. There are many different reasons for the success of these long-term relationships, with consumers’ top motivators being:

  • They love the way their stylists cut and/or color their hair (94%)
  • They look forward to catching up with their stylist (87%)
  • Good price (86%)
  • Easy booking (85%)
  • Better communications between appointments (75%)
  • Stylist’s recommendations for products and/or other services for specific needs (59%) 

For a cohesive view of the beauty industry, Square also analyzed consumer behavior changes over the years, and how beauty sellers have adapted to these shifts and leaned into a growth mindset. Square analysis is from transaction data from hundreds of thousands of beauty and personal care sellers in the US and Canada between January 2021 and May 2024. Findings include:

  • Remote and hybrid work have altered consumer behavior. With the ability to work from anywhere, Square data found that Tuesday appointments are now more popular than Saturdays, while Mondays have also become more popular (from January 2017 – January 2024).
  •  More sellers are leveraging cancellation fees to protect their bottom line. In 2021, nearly 5% of beauty and personal care sellers using Square Appointments had cancellation fees activated, and that number rose to nearly tripled in 2023, globally. For those with no-show protection enabled, they saw a 21% decrease in cancellations and no-shows compared to sellers that didn’t have it turned on, helping prevent loss of income.
  • Beauty businesses have leaned into selling retail items to maximize profit. For businesses who sold both services and products, rather than just services, these sellers saw 57% more in annual sales. Clients typically add 2 retail items when checking out, driving increased transaction sizes (as of Q1 2024).
  • Subscriptions generate recurring revenue for beauty sellers. More than 62% of subscriptions remain active after 6 months, signaling a strong appetite for these types of offerings as consumers continue to prioritize their well-being (as of May 31, 2024).
  • Consumer appetite for beauty and wellness trends are always shifting. From 2021 to 2023, demand has increased for russian manicures (+313%), scalp treatments (+100%), LED/Red light therapy (+76%), laser treatment (+64%), and brightening facials (+48%).

For a full analysis of the survey findings, download the report here. Visit for more information and be sure to follow the brand on Instagram for real-time updates.

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