Are Tresses in Trouble? Sales Remain Static

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets Tel: (44) 020 7193 6862 | August 1, 2012

It has been a very mixed year for the hair care market in the Big 5 with the overall category (including shampoos, conditioners and styling products) posting a variety of gains and losses, but nothing very consistent and all a bit pallid. France and Italy both reported losses, but on the plus side, Germany, Spain and the UK recorded gains. The UK, in particular, posted a robust rise in sales. But apart from that, it has been a fairly static year for hair care.

The new line of hair care products from Molton Brown London.
Losing its Luster?
The French hair care market fell 0.8% in the past year, but still exceeded more than $1.6 billion, according to industry sources. Looking at the mass market in particular though, there was some more positive news, as SymphonyIRI France reported a 2.2% gain in the sector to nearly $1.3 billion, while volume sales fell by 0.2% to more than 222 million units. Looking at the individual sub-sectors, shampoo put on 1.2% to $616 million while conditioners increased by 5% to $282 million. Colorants stayed exactly where they were the previous year at $361 million while perms grew by an extraordinary 59.6% to account for nearly $16 million in sales.

In terms of NPD, there was quite a lot happening. Procter & Gamble, for example, relaunched the entire Pantene range earlier this year, following seven years of research and collaboration with independent scientific experts. According to a study conducted by the brand, 95% of women say they do not get the desired results with their current hair care products, so Pantene reformulated the range with the aim of meeting the needs of each hair type. Four of the key new ingredients included polymers Methocel 1 and Triquet-762, styling technology BTMS and cationic polymer PolyDADMAC.

The formulas were developed specifically for fine, normal to thick and colored hair, and for each hair type there is a color-coded selection of products, including shampoos, conditioners, nourishing products and protective sprays and serums.

Hair Gains in Germany
Things fared more positively for Germany with SymphonyIRI Germany reporting a 2.3% rise in value sale across the whole category to more than $2.2 billion last year. Looking at individual sub-sectors there were gains for all main areas apart from hair styling that slumped by 1.4%, falling to $606 million. Hair care products, in comparison, put on 2.9% to reach $1.2 billion last year. Hair colorants had an especially good year, putting on 6.3% to $431 million.

One interesting piece of NPD is due out soon in Germany: the complete relaunch of premium bath and body care brand Molten Brown’s hair care range, which is comprised of five individual sets of shampoo and conditioner for different hair types along with a deep conditioning hair mask. Molten Brown has pitted this range as a return to its roots, seeing as it started life as a hair care salon in London in 1973 and next year will be celebrating its prestigious 40th anniversary.

A Slight Stumble
Hair care in Italy fell 1% in the past year, yet still totaled a healthy $1.6 billion, according to the latest data from Unipro. In the individual sub-sectors, shampoos remained the dominant product in the market with sales of $696 million, down 0.3% from last year. Dyes and colored mousses came in second place, as sales fell 0.4% to $347 million. Sales of treatments, balms and masks fell 1.1% to account for nearly $210 million. The biggest losses came in the liquid gels category, which slumped 5.8% to $94 million. The fixers and mousses category fell 5.1% to $7 million.

L’Oréal is always a top-selling brand in Italy and last year there were some new additions for consumers. L’Oréal Elvive debuted its new Arginine Resist X3 range, a shampoo, conditioner and mask designed for hair experiencing dullness or lifelessness. Arginine is an essential amino acid that plays a key role in the formation of the hair fiber. In the product, it treats hair from the root to improve existing texture and promote healthy new growth. Pantene launched Nature Fusion, in response to increasing consumer interest in natural ingredients. Building on the original Pro-V formula, the product is enriched with naturally derived ingredients including cassia to tame frizzy hair by fortifying and deeply nourishing from root to tip. The line includes a Strength and Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner, Two Minute Strengthening Mask and Fortifying Cream.

Colorful Sales
In Spain, hair care sales were relatively flat, adding 0.6% in the past year to exceed $1 billion, according to figures from SymphonyIRI Spain. During the same period, volume sales increased a healthier 1.9% to nearly 106 million units. The biggest area of growth in hair care came from hair treatment lotions. Sales in this category rose 11% to more than $20 million, while hair dyes and coloring products increased 4% to $240 million.

Schwarzkopf & Henkel is always a popular mass-market choice with Spanish consumers and the brand had a particularly active 12 months with its hair care products, for both professionals and consumers. In the dyes and color products category, which has been so popular in Spain, Palette has launched a new range of 15 tones under the name Palette Intense. Schwarzkopf & Henkel reports that nearly six million Spanish women dye their hair and that there has been a 16% increase in sales of inexpensive dyes, namely those that cost less than €5. Palette Intense is designed to provide quality color at a competitive price and offers a range of colors, particularly blondes and light browns. The formula works to color hair within 30 minutes and a hydrating mask with macadamia nut oil ensures the colored hair remains soft and shiny. Meanwhile, Blondme has launched a new lightener for a controlled, comfortable coloration process. Blondme Crystal is made up of two products to be used together—a xanthan-based activating lotion and compact lightening powder. The gel formulation is said to achieve a uniform result up to seven tones lighter on both natural and colored hair.

Spray Away Success
Spain may have posted a slight gain, but it really was the UK hair care sector that showed the most promising gains during the past year as sales rose 6% to top $2 billion. Volume sales also headed higher, albeit at a much slower pace, 0.5%, to nearly 526 million units.

Hair styling in the UK benefited from increased specialization in the past year as niche brands gained a foothold.

Twisted Sista, a line of hair care products specially formulated for Afro hair, relaunched a new and improved styling range at supermarket chain Tesco. Free from sulfates, parabens and mineral oil, it professes to be of a salon standard with a unique understanding of Afro hair. The seven strong collection claims to tame unruly curls and frizz, common concerns for Afro hair, and includes products such as the Hot Curls Perfector and Straightening Thermal Protector.

While results have certainly been mixed within the Big 5 during the past year, innovation and variety have been key factors and in much evidence. NPD is extremely important, because consumers may be tempted to dig a little deeper into their purses if there is a product that captures their attention. And that means we could be looking at a much healthier set of results this time next year!

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.