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Paradigm Shift for India’s Hair Care

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: September 2, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

With a growth rate curving upward, the hair care market in India is going through a major paradigm shift. With consumers ready to experiment with new products and services and marketers churning out new products at an impressive rate, there is a sense of excitement in the industry. The potential is such that major Indian manufacturers are now relaunching hair care brands that did not survive in earlier market scenarios.

According to a recent study by AC Nielsen Global Services, the Indian hair care market has shown a growth of 3.8% over the previous year. Although the numbers may not look impressive at first glance, they are positive compared with earlier market growth trend, and the industry is excited about this change.

The change is visible at two levels—consumer behavior and marketers trying to grow the market by introducing new product categories and services.

What was once considered to be an occasion-linked beauty regimen has now become a consumer way of life. The traditional hair care and hair styling methods are changing, which means that buyers are now ready to accept newer product categories. With globalization and greater purchasing power, consumers are willing to pick up higher-priced brands. “There is an increase of awareness amongst Indian women about hair care,” said Samantha Kochhar, hair expert and trainer, Pivot Point India. “Although hair colors as a market has matured, slowly we are seeing a demand for hairstyling and hair care products from consumers. There are still more female buyers than male buyers. The companies also are launching separate men’s hair care ranges, but that still has to mature.”

This also shows that there is a deeper market penetration. The aspiration value has increased beyond consumers in the tier one/urban markets across the cities. Consumers in the tier two and tier three markets, including those in rural areas, also are demanding more and new products.