Mixed Hair Care Results in Western Europe

By Katie Rodgers, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | August 3, 2009

The fortunes of the European hair care sector have been mixed, to say the least, during the past year. France and Spain posted losses while Germany, the UK and Italy reported gains. Germany’s gain was the most impressive of all at 6.2% while France, traditionally a hair care stalwart, slipped a bit.

Despite all the new product launches during the past year, France’s hair care market suffered a 3.2% decline in 2008, according to data from Mintel. The company put the value of the French shampoo and conditioner market at nearly $1.6 billion. Sales of shampoo in hypermarkets and supermarkets fell 4.7% to $408 million and $225 million respectively while conditioner sales fell 1.4% and 2.2% respectively, according to IRI France.

Products for dry hair were all the rage in France last year and this was reflected by the amount of new products fitting this ilk. Bioderma introduced Nodé S, a two-SKU line targeting dry, very dry and breakable hair. The restructuring shampoo and conditioning mask contain almond oil and a natural dermatologically advanced complex that is said to nourish and replace lost moisture while providing a protective film. Vitamin E provides protection against free radicals, while fatty acids help prevent inflammation of the scalp and split ends.

Similarly, Dessange (L’Oréal) launched Nutri-Extrême Richesse, described as a concentrated nutrition program for dry hair. It contains a blend of evening primrose and sesame oils, which reportedly leaves hair soft, radiant and hydrated. Products include nourishing shampoo and conditioner, rich conditioning mask and a leave-on elixir, which provides extra nourishment for areas more prone to dryness.

Long and Lustrous

According to data from IRI Germany, the German hair care market (including hair care products and colorants but excluding hair styling products) totalled $1.7 billion in 2008, a gain of 6.2%. Volume increased approximately 1% to about 164 million units. Sales of hair care products, including shampoos, conditioners, tonics and treatments, rose 2.3% to $1.2 billion, while hair colorant sales rose 1.9% to $468 million.

This was obviously a year for improvement for many long-established brands. Head & Shoulders (P&G) rolled out a new packaging concept in Germany. The pack is said to be sleeker, more lightweight and environmentally friendlier than the old bottles. Nine ranges target every hair need imaginable, including Volumen Wunder (volume), Glamorös Glatt (smoothing and conditioning), Frizz Frei (anti-frizz and smoothing), Farb Fetisch (colored hair), Viel Feuchtigkeit (dry and stressed hair), Rapid Repair (brittle hair), Schutz vor Schuppen (anti-dandruff), Schöner Schimmer (dull hair) and Strahlend Sauber (deep cleansing).

Cause for Applause

Unipro had a somewhat positive report for 2008, as sales rose a scant 0.6% to $1.4 billion. Although not a big gain, the past few years have not been good ones for hair care in Italy, so any improvement is reason to celebrate. Shampoos were the best selling product, rising 1.2% to $714 million. But conditioners and hair masks remained fairly static, dipping 0.1% to $224 million. Lotions and serums had a total reversal of fortune in 2008—gaining 7.4% to $103 million, after losing 5.4% in 2007.

When it came to which hair care products dominate the Italian market, Unilever is a clear favorite and is present with three different brands—Clear, Dove Linea Capelli and Sunsilk. According to Unilever, Sunsilk is selling particularly well, especially the new Extra Luce e Brillantezza, which enhances the color of natural as well as dyed hair and adds shine and brightness to redheads, blondes and brunettes.

A Mixed Bag

After rising nearly 4% in 2007, Spanish hair care product sales declined 0.69% in 2008, according to Spanish Fragrance and Cosmetic Association (STANPA). Still, individual segments showed promise. Sales of shampoos rose 3.7% to $494 million, on a volume gain of 2.2% to 117.4 million units, according to AC Nielsen. Meanwhile, conditioner sales grew an impressive 7.8% to $258 million in value and 50.6 million units in volume terms.

There were a couple of notable additions to the Spanish hair care market. Last year, Catalan multinational firm Puig launched Tresemme. Tresemme is one of the few brands that offer large family-size 900ml formats at a time when most manufacturers have focused on smaller packaging. There are 10 Tresemme products on the market—four shampoos, four conditioners and two deep conditioning masks, with plans to launch more later this year.

Another newcomer in Spain is John Frieda. With innovative products to combat frizz, John Frieda has also pioneered specific products in hair color for blondes, brunettes and redheads based on light reflection properties to produce a shiny, healthy effect. Although not new, this is the first time Spaniards have easy access to these products, and they are flying off the shelves.

Hair Hero

UK hair care sales rose 1.4% to nearly $2 billion in 2008, according to TNS Worldpanel. Volume rose 1.5% to 509 million units. Shampoos still hold the lion’s share of the market at 32.5%, followed by conditioners at 22.5%. Hair colorants, styling aids and women’s hairsprays make up the rest of the category.

One noticeable launch last year was from celebrity hair stylist Louise Galvin. Her range of carbon neutral hair care products including shampoo, conditioner and conditioning mask. All are free of parabens, silicone, petrochemicals, polymers, PEGS, SLS and synthetic fragrances. The products were created with essential oils, natural extracts and vegetable-derived agents. Ms. Galvin will expand her range later this year.

Despite the mixed results in the past year, the European hair care market is definitely one to watch. It is a sector with a lot of promise as manufacturers up their game at every level in order to keep the launch pace fresh and fast. When Europe’s economy starts to recover, perhaps later this year, sales will remain apace with innovation.

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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) 20 7549 8626; Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622