Expert's Opinion

Key Trends Impacting the Professional Salon Industry

By Toni Wells, Brand Director, Number 4 High Performance Hair Care | June 24, 2011

Toni Wells of Number 4 High Performance Hair Care examines hot trends.

Consumer behavior is always evolving at a fast pace and is a reflection of outside influences.We will examine four key trends and how they are affecting the professional salon industry.

High Performance
What we have seen recently is that consumers of professional hair care products want high performing products that are lightweight, fast acting, and with superior functionality. What that means in terms of hair care is styling products that don’t weigh hair down and can be layered, or treatment products that work simply and quickly to deliver valuable benefits.

Number 4 High Performance Hair Care from the start has been focused on delivering superior products. This summer, Number 4 is tapping in to what we know about consumer desires to launch a new product that combines the appeal of a styling product with the benefits of a treatment.It is called Fluoro5 Elixer, a lightweight hair care treatment that strengthens, repairs hair, protects color and provides anti-aging ingredients. The key technology in the product is fluorosilicones, which actually defy time and allow for the person to maintain their hair style longer by repelling natural hair oils to eliminate that greasy feel to produce shiny, healthy hair.

The quality of the products and the perceived value is the primary purchasing motivation. In the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in environmental products available, but what we are seeing is that purchasing for environmental factors alone is not enough. It may make consumers feel good emotionally, but the performance has got to be there. So you will start to see a shift in how eco-friendly brands now not only market environmental benefits, but stress the superior quality and added value that the product offers.

This wouldn’t be a complete trend assessment without addressing one of the major factors effecting consumers, and that is the economy. Economic factors have had an impact especially on the luxury market. But, what we have found is that performance is the new term for luxury.

Some believe that the old version of luxury represents over priced, ego-driven products and services and that the new luxury is actually about the overall experience, high performance and a new standard of excellence. Once a consumer has experience high quality, performance, even if it’s at a premium price, they don’t want to give it up. They figure out a way to get it by prioritizing purchases, spacing them out or finding special promotions. As a result, deal of the day sites like Groupon and Hautelook have experienced tremendous growth. Groupon, just over two years old is already valued at over $1 billion.

Stuff and clutter is on the rise—text blasts, eblasts, notification alerts from phone applications. Sales of smartphones in the U.S. increased 82% from 2008 to 2011, which allows consumers to have even more information at their finger tips. Consumers like feeling informed and educated in order to make better decisions, but they need help sorting through the clutter.

Salon professionals need to become a trusted resource to help their clients simplify. These clients expect more value, which for a stylist could mean education about products, services, trends. KellerFay, a U.S. word of mouth marketing research consultancy, estimates that there are nearly one trillion conversations about brands every year in the US alone. If the salon professional isn’t giving their valuable and educated opinion about purchasing decisions, you can be sure that someone else is.

About the Author
Toni Wells, brand director, Number 4 High Performance Hair Care, has a unique passion for news, trends, strategies and stories which she uses to inspire the people around her and influence product creations. Her curriculum vitae spans most major professional product manufacturers from Redken, to Sebastian, Joico and most recently PureOlogy Serious Colour Care, where as vice president of sales and marketing she oversaw a four-fold increase in annual sales. Wells currently lives and works in Newport Beach, CA, through she most prefers to spend time on the road strengthening relationships and visiting friends at every level of the professional industry from salon, to distributor, to manufacturer.

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