Purchasing Behavior of Women with Curls, Coils and Waves

You can’t walk down the hair care aisle at any mass merchant, drug store or beauty supply store without seeing how texture has taken center stage. The dramatic growth in offerings for people with curly, coily and wavy hair—as well as the prominence they are being given in stores—has transformed the hair care market. Whether it be the expanded curly offerings at Sephora or Target’s growing multicultural section, it’s hard to ignore this trend. L’Oréal’s recent acquisition of Carol’s Daughter, a multicultural brand focused on texture, served as an exclamation point.

It’s no surprise why this is happening, although some question why it took so long. The textured hair consumer—more than 60% of the U.S. population by most accounts—spends a lot of money on hair care. They spend more than any other hair care consumer as they have a myriad of issues to contend with versus those without texture.

For the past four years, TextureMedia Inc. (TMI) has published TextureTrends, an annual report that summarizes the trends in this hot segment. The report helps brands and retailers better understand what drives their customers’ purchasing behavior and attitudes (where, what, why, how much), as well as analyzing overall changes in this shifting market space. The most recent report, TextureTrends Wave IV, surveyed 6,000 women, including 1,000 straight-haired consumers, to provide a comparison of purchasing behavior. They were asked to fill out a 45-minute survey about their favorite products and what drives their purchasing behavior, with detailed questions about every product category used by women with curly, coily and wavy hair—from conditioners and styling products to chemical services and appliances. The report also looks at where they’re shopping for their products.

Key findings in Wave IV:

  • Texture type transcends ethnicity. Among those who identify themselves as African-American, they included women with wavy, curly and coily hair. This, along with more awareness that women don’t necessarily shop by their ethnicity but by problem-solution, is one of the reason many believe the ethnic aisle may become obsolete.
  • The more coily the hair, the more important ingredients are to the consumer. While 95% of those with coily hair seek particular ingredients in their hair products, 58% of hair consumers look for certain ingredients. Curly and coily consumers are also more likely to avoid certain ingredients in their hair products.
  • While fighting frizz is the biggest consideration for wavy and curly women, moisture is the top consideration for those with coily hair. Only 9% of coily women cite fighting frizz as their biggest concern, compared to 48% of wavy consumers.
  • Curly consumers spend more than wavy, coily and straight-haired consumers in all product categories. For styling products, they spend an average of 54% more than their straight-haired counterparts.
  • Although straight-haired consumers tend to stick to traditional leading brands, curly and coily consumers are always on the lookout for new products from companies both big and small.
  • More women with curly, coily and wavy hair shop online compared to their straight-haired friends. Textured-hair consumers also use many more web sites to buy their hair products than those with straight hair.

To find out more about TextureTrends, email Michelle Breyer at [email protected]. Michelle Breyer is president and co-founder of TextureMedia Inc., and has been a regular contributor to GCI on the topic of texture.

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