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From Global to Local and Back Again

By: Cara Eaton, Christophen Toumit and Regan Tillou
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Innovation and marketing trends in beauty and personal care are becoming truly global. The time when the Western markets set the trends in beauty and personal care products and all other markets followed has changed. Increasingly, developing nations are putting forth exciting new trends, and the established markets, such as Western Europe and the United States, are eagerly snapping these up and rolling them out into their own markets. Many exciting new innovations, such as Brazilian straightening treatments and BB creams (beauty balms or blemish balms) are making their way into the hands of consumers around the globe. These innovations have already begun to impact the global personal care market.

The hair care market is following the market trend of personal care in general, experiencing influences from the needs and desires of consumers around the world. This sizeable market is still growing, having rebounded from a decline in 2009. The global hair care market grew 6.7% from 2009 to 2010, reaching a retail value of $67 billion U.S. dollars (Euromonitor International, 2011). All categories in the hair care market, from shampoos and conditioners to styling agents, are experiencing growth, with the greatest growth being seen in the colorants market, at a rate of 9.5% (Euromonitor International, 2011). This growth offers great opportunity to hair care brands that can use global trends and consumer demands to tap into the growth potential of the hair care market.

Global Market Trends With Regional Appeal

As noted, global trends once came from Western Europe or North America, but new trends are starting to emerge from other regions around the world that may eventually become global trends. As such, global trends now become a general compass for future product development, with regional trends now informing the global ones in two ways. The first, by determining if global trends need to be nuanced or modified to reflect regional needs, which is reflected in product variants that differ from region to region to answer specific needs created by the local environment or ethnic composition. Secondly, it can be determined if this regional trend will become a new global trend. Some examples of regional needs are combing creams from Brazil and blackening shampoos from China, and time will tell if these become global trends. For this discussion, the focus will be primarily on global trends with regional nuances considered, yet there will be examples of regional trends that are showing global appeal. 

Beyond the Basics

Once upon a time, a shampoo needed only to clean the hair—and this was a good hair care regimen. Conditioners were then added to the portfolio, and they provided detangling and an overall conditioned feel to the hair, which greatly improved a consumer’s experience. Now these functions are considered basic, and are expected as part of the core functionality of the system. This introduces the first global trend: “Beyond the Basics,” in which consumers expect their daily grooming products to deliver more than these simple functions.