A Lackluster Performance In European Hair Care

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | August 3, 2010

There was little to get excited about in the Big 5 countries when it came to hair care in the past year. Most countries reported declines, although Italy and the UK did each post nominal growth. This pullback follows a fairly lackluster performance the previous year as well, so it seems that something will have to be done soon to bring about a reversal of fortunes.

Falling Flat in France
According to SymphonyIRI Group, the French hair care market (including shampoos, conditioners and colorants) put on a barely noticeable 0.1% in the past year to $1.2 billion in value terms. Volume wise, it was equally unexciting with a 0.1% decline to 222.3 million units.

Insiders attribute the decline to falling usage rates and the increase in price promotions to stimulate demand in what has been a sluggish time for the French economy. Mintel has also reported that sales of hair care products in the normally popular perfumery, pharmacy and direct sales channels have fallen of late, with shampoo sales alone dropping a massive 18.4% between 2007 and 2009.

New product-wise, Dove (Unilever) targeted the popular hair mask category as more consumers search for solutions to dry and brittle hair. Dove’s point of difference with its two new hair masks is that they work within just one minute to provide nourishment from the roots to the tips, according to the company. Masque Minute Après-Shampooing is available in Intense Care and Color Care variants, and reportedly helps reconstruct the proteins in the hair fiber and provide a protective coating for hair cuticles.

Lacking in Body
The hair care market in Germany has also lost its bounce in the past year, according to figures from SymphonyIRI Germany. The segment fell 0.7% to $2.3 billion last year. Volume, however, was a little more lustrous, growing 2.4% to reach 218.8 million units last year. Retail-wise this is the perfect category to attract customers to the German drugstore with this retail channel accounting for a massive 62.8% of the market share in 2009.

No report on the German hair care market would be complete without mentioning Schwarzkopf and Henkel, which has been very active rolling out new hair care products in the past year. In February 2010, the Schauma Anti-Schuppen (anti-dandruff) range was extended with a new men’s shampoo, Schauma Anti-Schuppen Intensiv, which reportedly helps fight dandruff with its zinc pyrithione complex after just one wash.

With the launch of Anti-Schuppen Intensiv, the existing Anti-Schuppen range was overhauled with all new formulas (which now all feature the zinc pyrithione complex). And the same month also saw the launch of the Schauma Push-Up Volumen range for thin and flat hair. It comprises a shampoo, conditioner and a thickening treatment and the formula includes a collagen complex and nourishing vitamins. The silicone-free products promise to boost hair volume by as much as 100%.

Holding its Own in Italy
Things were a little more positive in the Italian hair care market in 2009 with the sector growing 1.3% to total $1.3 billion, according to data from industry body Unipro. More specifically, shampoo sales rose 1.7% to $688 million; followed by hair dyes and colored foams, which rose 1.2% to $349 million, and conditioners and hair masks, which put on 1.8% to $216 million. Meanwhile, the mass market and chemists shops remain the favored places to buy hair care products among Italian consumers.

Schwarzkopf & Henkel is also a popular brand on the Italian market with its home color brand, Testanera, a popular choice for those affected by the recession as it offers a cheaper alternative to salon dye treatments. The latest offering from the brand is Essential Color, the first Testanera product that doesn’t contain ammonia. The formulation is said to be creamy and ideal to cover gray hair while also being kind to the scalp. The product is enriched with natural ingredients such as organic lychee and white tea.

Fading Fast
Although hair care represents the second largest cosmetics and toiletries category in Spain, behind skin care, there has been dismal news of late in this sector. According to industry body Stanpa, hair care sales have dropped a dire 8.2% in the past year, falling to $1.2 billion. These disappointing results have been attributed to changing consumer habits as a result of the recent recession that has impacted every area of Spanish cosmetics and toiletries sales. Stanpa also reported that the market share for hair care has taken a slight dip—going from 22.33% in 2008 to 22.13% last year.

Natural hair care products are gaining prominence in Spain and many of the latest product launches tout natural ingredients. Pantene Pro-V (P&G) recently introduced Naturefusion onto the Spanish market, based on its naturally moisturizing Cassia Complex to protect hair and block the humidity, which causes frizz. Avocado, bamboo and grapeseed extract help to protect and repair damaged hair leaving it stronger and shinier, according to the company.

Bouncing Back in the UK
Despite mixed results for the UK hair care market in 2008, results for 2009 seem to show that the sector is bouncing back somewhat. According to data from Kantar Worldpanel, the past 12 months have seen sales rally as consumer confidence returns.

The UK hair care market is now valued at $1.7 billion, a growth of a healthy 3% on the previous year. There was a more understated growth in volume sales—it rose 1.3% to exceed 518 million units. Within the category the largest share of sales was made unsurprisingly by shampoos with a 31.9% market share.

These positive results have been in part due to increased activity in launch pace and also increased segmentation. UK trichologist Philip Kingsley has launched a shampoo and conditioner developed specifically for people with thick, Afro-Caribbean hair. Moisture Extreme is said to improve the appearance and feel of Afro hair, which is characterised as extremely porous, with tight curls, according to Kingsley. The shampoo is said to provide a fine balance of cleansing performance and mildness; hair is cleansed without stripping it of its natural oils.

In addition conditioning agents are reportedly deposited into the hair structure during washing to help nourish hair. The conditioner meanwhile, contains a combination of four naturally derived oils that moisturise and add shine, without weighing down the hair.

Innovation Wanted
While there has been some innovation in the hair care sector in the past year, it has nonetheless not been enough to prevent falling sales. Although this decline may, in fact, have more to do with all bulk discounts being offered at retail than consumer apathy.

Whatever the case, the hair care market in the Big 5 continues to report a lackluster performance and increased innovation and creativity in the sector could do something to bring it out of the doldrums.

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited.Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447 • Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622
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