The French, German and Italian hair styling sectors posted somewhat lackluster performances last year, with most areas recording a dip in both volume and value terms.
After a gain in 2006, sales in France last year slipped back to their dishevelled state. Results from industry body FEBEA show that the French hair styling market dipped 0.6% to $780 million last year.
The mass market is the biggest channel for hair styling in France and this channel declined 0.4% to $775 million.
However, the pharmacy channel, the next biggest channel, did put in a positive performance climbing 5.3% to $3.6 million, but this was not enough to pull the category out of the doldrums. The final two diminutive categories, direct sales and the selective market, declined dramatically, 39.5% and 41.5% respectively.
Although a substantial number of launches and innovation played a key part in the new products that joined the market last year—such as lighter and more natural textures, and the advent of “invisible” effects in gels that leave no trace by sight or touch—it seems that hair styling is simply going through a rough patch.
Styling Aid Sales Decline
Sales of styling aids in 2007 dropped 3.7% to $487 million, with the mass channel falling 3.7% to $482 million. Direct sales and selective markets fared even worse—the former declining 40% to $1.6 million and the latter down 25% to just $287,000. The pharmacy channel posted modest growth of 1.4% to $2.7 million, proving that consumers were holding off buying gels, mousses, waxes and styling creams.
But hairsprays did show an increase in sales, climbing 8.1% to $236 million, which may explain the abundance of new product launches.
One of the most noteworthy was Taft’s (Schwarzkopf & Henkel) new generation hairspray with maximum 24-hour hold. Three new products are said to fix any desired look, masculine or feminine, with each package clearly displaying the fixing levels. Elastix Fix Tenue Extrême, presented in a red bottle, provides a level 5 hold, that’s extreme hold, while remaining soft and flexible over 24 hours. Titane Tenue Ultime Anti-Humidite, a violet bottle with a level 6 hold, instantly fixes even the most outrageous hairstyles and remains fixed even in windy or humid conditions. The strongest hold product is Absolu’ Fix, a black bottle offering a powerful level 7 hold.
The German hair styling industry didn’t fare much better than France with IRI Germany’s figures showing that the German market registered only a very slender growth of 0.3% to $335 million with volume sales only increasing by an even slimmer 0.2% to 24.6 million liters. Of this total, the spray and lacquer category took the lion’s share, rising 3% to $183 million. The bad news is that the second biggest category—gels, creams and waxes—dipped 4.5% to $82 million. Lastly, sales of setting products (those which are used to hold the hair in place) also slid 0.8% to $70 million in value terms.
Last year, most of the hair styling products sold in Germany were basic or general in nature. This product type accounted for 41.5% of the total value market although this figure actually represents a fall of 6.9%. Volumizing products came in second with an 18.7% share, up a solid 10.5%, making it one of the most successful categories. Products promising gloss and shine came in third, growing from 7.2% to 13.6%, followed by extreme styling effects which jumped 17.3% to a 10.7% market share.
Innovative New Products
New product-wise, despite a lackluster year, there was quite a lot of innovation, particularly in the volume and gloss categories.
In April, John Frieda (Kao Europe) relaunched its Luxurious Volume hair care and styling collection in Germany. The range includes shampoo, conditioner, a thickening blow drying lotion which reportedly gives hair body and texture while protecting it against hair drier heat, an alcohol-free styling mousse with pro-vitamin B5 and a fast-drying ultra-fine hair spray containing an improved product formula which protects hair against moisture and UV damage.
Likewise, Nivea focused on shine with the launch of the Diamond Gloss range. All products contain pro-vitamin B5, polymers, rice-derived oryzanol and micro-fine diamond particles, said to give strong yet flexible hold, texture and shimmer.
Over-Styled in Italy
Italians also seem to be shunning hair styling products as sales of gels dropped 5.5% to $65 million and hairspray sales drooped 1.6% to $125 million, according to Unipro. Experts blame the slump on Italy’s over-reliance on its mass market channel.
Unfortunately, pressure to cut prices and offer constant discounts to pull in shoppers is clearly not working. The other key sales channels in Italy haven’t reported much good news either. The perfumery channel accounted for just $12.7 million, $7.7 million and $12.3 million for the hair spray, setting lotions and gel categories, respectively. The results were even less significant in pharmacies at $726,000, $411,000 and $616,000.
New product launches were also few and far between in Italy last year. L’Oréal dominated launch activity with products such as StudioLine Power Ricci (Power curls), a complete styling line designed to care for curls. It includes Mousse Forma Ricci, Mousse Wet Ricci and Crème Disegna Ricci, which disciplines and redefines rebellious curls. Meanwhile, the brand reformulated its concentrated indestructible style gel and upped promotional activity for the line to help boost popularity. Also at L’Oréal, the Professional sector got funky with Play Ball—a range of highly colorful, highly tactile, portable and stylish styling products divided into sprays and pots. Play sprays include Texture Tonic, Soda Sparkler, Silky Sunrise, Cosmo Spritzer and Fuzzy Rocks all designed to create different looks from wavy and mussed to straight and shiny. Play pots include Density Material, Pure Jelly, Pearl Whip, Deviation Paste and Motion Gelée—all designed to produce extreme effects.
Clearly, there was little to get excited about when it came to hair styling last year. If the sector is to improve, formulators must come up with innovative concepts to convince Euro- peans to spend more euros!