An anti-grooming movement has swept across the west, pioneered on the one hand by the ethically minded and, on the other, by a snubbing of conventional grooming expectations. This movement has enveloped nations that strategically prop up the hair care market.
The global sprawl of deep-seated hair care usage, however, is giving rise to favorable regional diversity and a throng of growth pockets. In 2016, overall hair care grew by a healthy 4% to $72 billion, bookended by 9% value growth in the Middle East and Africa, and 0.2% in Western Europe. (For global market figures, see F-3.) So with recovery somewhat in the offing, how can a healthy growth trajectory be sustained?
Skin Care Trends for Hair
When it comes to trade-offs between a lower price and specific product features, consumers exhibit similar attitudes toward skin care as they do hair, making an undeniable case for the replication of skin care trends in hair.
For example, hair masks are in a strong position to benefit from the growth momentum of facial masks. Realizing value growth highs of 4% in 2016, face masks bucked the stagnancy in skin care in Western Europe, pointing to a lucrative loophole for hair masks. More than 50% of respondents to a Euromonitor survey expressed a preference for proven efficacy over a lower price, spelling further good news for mask formats, which often command a higher price tag compared to conventional products (F-1).
Gently Does It
Parallels with skin care cannot be drawn without reference to the natural narrative, which is aiding sector growth as healthier priorities lead consumers to overhaul their bathroom cabinet.
Globally, premium hair care’s plight has been abetted by the desire for milder and sustainable formulations, which come at a price; the segment continued to trend ahead of mass in 2016 with 5.3% and 3.5% value growth, respectively.
Long-established claims such as “free from” continue to be covetable in markets such as Asia Pacific, evident in the 104% value growth in 2016 of Malaysian brand See Young, which won the domestic popularity race for its premium range of silicon-free hair care.
An Eastern influence is tangible in mature regions too, breathing new life into the core shampoo market. In both Western Europe and North America in 2016, shampoo built on the disappointment of the previous year, recording respective 1.5% and 3.7% value growth rates, respectively. A barrage of novel claims such as probiotic and gluten-free have had a hand in this success, migrating from food labels to skin care jars and, eventually, to hair care bottles.
For example, U.S.-based Mother Dirt markets a shampoo that is certified for compatibility with the skin’s natural microbiome, along with Illumai, which works on the premise of “preserving the healthy biome provided by Mother Nature.”
Innovations rooted in Ayuverdic medicine are poised to gain traction as well, originating from unlikely beauty trend-setter India. Whilst the majority of brands on the market at present have a skin and body focus, including Arya Essentials and Jiva Apoha, the opportunities for hair care remain abundant.
Anti-aging Hair Care for the Young
The differences between hair and skin lie in age. While consumers start to pay particular attention to skin care in their 30s, hair care is more a younger generation’s arena. Even hair loss treatments show a higher ratio of daily use among under-30s, compared to any other age group, according to Euromonitor International’s Beauty Survey (F-2).
Hair loss treatments have immense untapped potential, with one in five male consumers in the 45–49 age group reporting hair loss concerns; balding is a concern for 10–20% of male consumers among all generations. For example, hair loss treatments are providing some respite for the floundering Japanese hair care market, growing healthily at 4% in 2016, as the wider industry suffers at the hands of an aging population.
There is scope to breathe new life into the wider hair routine from the perspective of age, focusing on preventative benefits to engage those crucial young consumers. Personal care routines typically minimize with age, which is working to Japan’s disadvantage, but anti-aging hair care innovations for the young could encourage more extensive regimes.
Inevitably, then, new product development needs to appeal to a younger demographic, as hair loss concerns are higher among this more image-conscious age group, unlike anti-aging skin care, where the most frequent users lie in the 40–49 age bracket.
In the wider hair care sphere, anti-aging hair care ranges are multiplying, utilizing familiar ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, amino acids and retinol, including Living Proof’s Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment and the Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Bodybuilding Conditioner. This is a potentially risky punt on age segmentation, considering that a fresh dialogue in anti-aging is getting louder, one that shuns negatively-laden language in favor of more neutral and targeted labels such as hydrating.
Opportunities for the Next Generation
A mindful generation need not spell trouble for hair care. Instead, a newfound consciousness should be viewed as an opportunity for the development of sustainable and gentler product alternatives to conventional launches that can uphold the frequency and length of current regimes.
By the same token, concerns about aging, water scarcity and other issues could lengthen hair care routines by prompting consumers to add additional steps and products, including anti-aging treatments and styling agents that help them achieve a perpetual just-washed finish.
Hannah Symons is an industry analyst at the Euromonitor International Beauty Desk. In he r current position she is responsible for publishing research studies related to corporate strategies, market entries, competitive intelligence and opportunity analysis in the global beauty and personal care industry. Symons has a particular interest in fragrances, hair care, color cosmetics and digital influencers in beauty. Prior to Euromonitor, she worked in Merchandising at Molton Brown London and as a blogger community manager in Hong Kong. Hannah holds a BA in English (European) from the University of Leeds.