Western European hair care sales recovered in 2018 after a slight decline (down 0.2%) in 2017, according to Euromonitor International. Overall, hair care sales in the region rose 4.8% to more than $14.6 billion. Unfortunately, Eastern European nations were unable to sustain the strong gains of 12.1% made in 2017. According to Euromonitor International, sales increased just 3.1% to about $4.3 billion. Germany led the charge in Western Europe, with sales of more than $3.5 billion, while Russia led Eastern Europe with sales of $1.6 billion, with much of that in shampoos and colorants.
Hair care concerns vary by country, according to research company Mintel in its latest market study. Hair breakage and split ends are an issue for 40% of Italian women, reflecting a tendency among Italians to wear their hair long. At the same time, 43% of Spanish women are worried about hair loss. In Germany, 23% of women are looking to treat a sensitive scalp, though this is clearly not a concern among the 67% of French men, who have a tendency to vigorously wash their scalp. With such wide-ranging hair- and scalp-related concerns, brands have the opportunity to micro target groups with tailored product solutions.
According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), natural formulations remain the most popular claims for European hair product launches.
“We still see free-from claims, mainly paraben- and silicone-free, despite new regulations,” stated Andrew McDougall, associate director of beauty and personal care at Mintel. “In 2018, vegan claims received a real boost in the category as did refill/refillable packaging claims and convenient packaging claims. Odor-neutralizing was also an emerging claim on pack in Europe in 2018. We are also seeing prebiotic and allergy-tested claims emerge on-pack, though these are still niche.”
McDougall cites examples of each as follows:
- Vegan. L’Erboristica di Athena’s (Italy) is a vegan-certified sustainable cosmetics line for hair, face and body. Its anti-dryness, nourishing and repairing shampoo contains 99% natural ingredients, including linseed and shea butter, has been nickel-, cobalt- and chrome-tested and retails in a pack bearing the Lifegate Zero impact logo.
- Odor neutralizing. Massato Fragrance Hair Mist (France) claims to neutralize daily odors, hydrate and protect hair. Its formula incorporates an anti-odor technology that is capable of neutralizing unpleasant odors, such as tobacco.
- Refill. Both vegan and refillable, Fulfilled (UK) hair shampoo retails in a 500ml pack with a separate pump attachment. Fulfilled’s mission is to eradicate single use plastics in the home, starting with the bathroom. Its products are designed around the core principles of “reduce, reuse and recycle” in larger sizes that reduce the amount of packaging used over time. Bottles are aluminum, not plastic, and all cardboard and paper packaging is made from 100% recycled paper stock.
- Prebiotic/allergy tested/scalp microbiome. These are often in the form of multi-benefit shampoos, such as Nanogen’s 7-in-1 shampoo, formulated with prebiotic beta glucan and claims to nourish and rebalance the scalp’s natural microbiome. Salicylic acid actively exfoliates the scalp to help prevent itchiness and flaking, as well as breaking down sebum and dirt, which are known to clog pores.
He points to Mintel’s monitoring of patent activity which highlights the use of probiotics to treat scalp problems and hair loss, as well as patents for inventions relating to scalp microbiome, which have risen in the past three years.
“With dandruff and hair loss remaining at the top of consumers’ hair concerns, particularly among men, these are key areas of research for hair care brands.”
Mintel research suggests that European men have concerns regarding damage to their hair from hair care products, with 26% of Italians not using them regularly for this reason. However, more than half (55%) of Italians say they tend to look better when they blow dry their hair, suggesting there may be an opportunity for brands to market to men who want to look good or by offering additional benefits for men.
“Men have potential to take a lead when it comes to styling with specific product offerings for hair and beard, and that is helping to drive the segment,” explained McDougall.
Concern around the damage frequent washing can do to the hair as well as a desire to cut water consumption has led some consumers to skip washes and replace wet products with dry shampoo.
“There is a water consumption angle as consumers start to monitor their impact on the planet,” said McDougall. “Dry shampoo brands are beginning to position themselves from an environmentally-friendly standpoint.”
While the US remains the biggest market for dry shampoos, there is much activity in Europe, particularly in the UK, France and Germany, which are the strongest European markets for dry shampoo.
According to Mintel GNPD, launches in Norway and in the Netherlands feature multifunctional dry shampoos that not only refresh hair but also add a hint of color. Examples in the Netherlands include two launches from private label brands Kruidvat and Hema. In Norway, dry shampoo launches include Id Hair Elements Xclusive Styling Play Dry Shampoo, Amika Phantom Hydrating Dry Shampoo Foam and Rituals Elixir Collection Boswellia & Shikakai Refreshing Dry Shampoo.
Moving forward, reducing water consumption and packaging will continue to dominate the European hair care agenda, providing opportunities for innovation and practical, sustainability solutions.
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918
Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.