Hair Styling Sales Lack Volume in Europe

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

It has not been a good year for the Big 5 European countries with regard to hair styling as every country recorded losses. The recession has left its mark on this segment as the situation is even worse than back in 2007, when things initially started to decline for the hair styling sector. Tradi- tionally very big on all things hair care and hair styling, France reported a disappointing set of results. Far from being its usual buoyant self, the French hair styling market lacked in volume somewhat over the past year, according to IRI France. Its figures show that French supermarket and hypermarket channels reported a dismal set of results, posting significant drops in both value and volume share. The hair spray market dropped 3.7% to $147 million, while the styling aids market dropped a massive 9.9% to $294 million. Volume wise, there were more losses as hair sprays fell 4% to 18.8 million units and styling aids slipped 11.4% to 52.5 million units.

The fact that French consumers are turning away from using styling products indicates that they are embracing the natural look. No wonder, then, why natural ingredients have proved a popular addition to styling launches in France.

La Biosthetique Paris’ new Natural Cosmetic hair care line includes a number of styling references that are Ecocert certified, with ingredients derived from almost 100% natural sources. Products include Coiffante Fixing Styling Mousse, Crème Brilliante Shine Cream and Laque Fixante Finishing Spray, the latter reportedly wrapping hair in a fine film to protect it from drying out, as well as imparting a soft shine.

Losing its Grip

Data from IRI Germany also painted a disappointing picture as sales slid 1.4% to $747 million. Volume results fared little better as unit sales lost 1.2% to 55.67 million units. The only sub-sector to have any kind of a gain was hair sprays, which inched up 0.9% to $416 million while hair gels, creams and waxes fell 5.7% to $170 million.

When it came to retail sales, even the ever-popular German drug store channel was hit by bad news, as sales fell 1.2% to $422 million.

New product wise, manufacturers plodded on and rolled out new products in an attempt to woo consumers. Local company Schwarzkopf & Henkel was particularly busy—its Drei Wetter Taft styling range was expanded with anti-frizz products. Drei Wetter Taft Glatt & Glossy comprises a hair foam, hair spray and a smoothing balm, which promises 24-hour smoothness in the battle to protect hair against heat styling tools. The products contain micro oils and the range’s Soft Touch Effect complex to prevent hair from drying out. Also new is Drei Wetter Taft Lockenflex—a foam and balm for curly hair. Using these products will ensure that curls and waves last 60% longer, according to the company.

Italian Inconsistency

According to data from industry body Unipro, Italian hair styling sales slid 2.5% to $322 million. Hair sprays led the way, with sales of $132 million, while styling gels were next at $118 million. Sales of mousses and setting lotions were just $71 million, although this category did represent the fastest growing hair styling segment in the country.

The leading hair styling company in Italy is still L’Oréal, which enjoys success in the market with its Studio Line, Garnier Fructis, Garnier Grafic and Cadonett brands.

New Garnier Fructis Style products promise long lasting performance and take care of the hair while tending to its styling needs at the same time. New Garnier Fructis Hydra Liss is a fixing spray with an anti-frizz action that is said to be effective against even the dampest weather, yet nourishes hair too.

Styling Slump in Spain

Spain’s hair styling market declined too. Based on data from AC Nielsen, hair styling sales fell 2.5% to $275 million while unit sales fell 5.4% to 68.1 million units.

Hair sprays accounted for 35% of the market, followed by gels and waxes (33%) and styling mousses (28%). Styling sprays were the least popular hair styling format, accounting for a minute 4% market share.

New styling launches in Spain include additions to the Agua Nelly line that utilize vitamin B5, a sunscreen and natural sea silk extracts to moisturize, repair and facilitate easy combing. The line is available in three variants—Extra Volume, Extra Strength and Ultra Curls. At the same time, Nelly has reformatted its other products to offer a new look and extended the line to include new formats in extra large and travel sizes, which are becoming increasingly popular with Spanish consumers.

Turning Heads

Consumers in the UK seem to be turning away from hair styling as well, as sales slipped 2.1% to $477 million in the past year. Unit volume was hit hard, tumbling 3.5% last year to 126.69 million units, according to data from TNS Worldpanel. Only two sub-sectors, aerosols and waxes/creams, posted year-on-year sales growth. The latter increased an impressive 8.2%.

Despite these bad tidings, there was no shortage of new product launches in the UK last year, many of them aiming to protect hair from the effects of humidity. One key launch was the VO5 Weather Resistant range with Climate Control Technology from Alberto-Culver. The range is vast, comprising hair sprays, gel sprays and styling mousses, with all products offering protection from moisture with 24-hour humidity protection. Frizz is reduced by 88% as a result, according to the company.

Although hair styling sales declined across the Big 5 in the past year, manufacturers remain willing to launch new products. The real reason for the sales declines has more to do with the worsening recession rather than a lack of desire to purchase. Styling will always be secondary to cleansing and conditioning with consumers, but perhaps it is only now that the recession is having an impact on sales.
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