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Global Survey Offers Insight into Latest Hair Care Spending Habits

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Hair care was one of the weaker performing beauty and personal care categories throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown restrictions throughout 2020-2021 altered consumer habits with fewer social occasions leading to reduced usage of styling agents and shampoo.

Although 2022 has to some extent seen a return to pre-pandemic hair care habits thanks to the end of home seclusion and lockdown measures throughout most countries, global inflation now creates fresh challenges for the category. Thanks to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Beauty and Personal Care 2022 Survey, which was fielded in June 2022, it is possible to explore how consumer spending patterns in the hair care space have changed over the last year.

Consumers continue to buy premium amid rising product prices

The Voice of the Industry: Beauty and Personal Care 2021 Survey, which was fielded in October 2021, found 30% of beauty players had already increased the prices of their products in response to inflation. This figure only grew throughout 2022.

For example, Unilever, owner of Tresemmé, raised product pricing by 12.5% in Q3 2022 vs the same period in 2021, the company’s highest ever quarterly rise. So far, this has not deterred consumer spending across the beauty and personal care categories, with respondents to the Voice of the Consumer: Beauty and Personal Care 2022 Survey globally spending more on beauty products in 2022 than two years prior.
image0wtkw.pngSource: Voice of the Consumer Beauty Survey, fielded June 2022 
Higher consumer expenditure was evident across the global hair care market, with typical spending per one product over USD10 in 2022 being significantly higher in all subcategories when compared to 2021. This can be partly attributed to increased penetration of hair treatments, such as scalp care and hair loss products, which often come at a higher price point, becoming more popular among consumers. Additionally, with the return of normal life, along with a desire for consumers to spend more on products as a treat for living in lockdown for two years, demand for premium presentations continued to grow. This was illustrated by an increase in the number of respondents who prefer to purchase luxury brands over budget across all product types in 2022 vs 2021, with the exception of hair styling. Strong interest in the premium hair care space is not new, with the channel growing ahead of mass for the majority of 2016-2021, propelled by trends towards natural, clean, and sustainable products, as well as expanded distribution of the salon professional channel.

imager6u67.pngSource: Voice of the Consumer Beauty Survey, fielded June 2022 

Increased spending on premium hair care impacted purchase frequency habits in 2022, as shoppers opted for fewer higher-quality buys. The data show a notable decrease year-on-year in the monthly purchase of standard hair shampoos, hair conditioner or treatment and 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner, as shoppers chose simpler routines, partly driven by growing concern that frequent hair washing can impact hair quality and health. The latter can be illustrated by daily usage of standard hair shampoos and 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner in 2022 down by 7% and 3%, respectively, when compared with pre-pandemic levels. Most other subcategories noted upturns in monthly buys, thanks to a full year without lockdown restrictions.

Signs of price sensitivity are evident in the survey, with a slight increase in the number of respondents who felt that lower pricing (+2% and +1%, respectively) was a more important factor than premium formulation or proven efficacy when purchasing hair care in 2022 vs 2021. Category spending is anticipated to ease in 2023, as consumers feel the inflationary effects more prominently, which is leading to more competition for premium brands from the “masstige” segment, where players are offering premium ingredients, features, and aesthetics at a lower cost to consumers. For example, in the UK, discounter Aldi launched its Lacura Bonded hair care range in July 2022 as a cheaper alternative to premium competitors, like Living Proof and Olaplex.

Anti-ageing hair concerns witness highest spend

imageey8u9.pngSource: Voice of the Consumer Beauty Survey, fielded June 2022

In comparison to other hair products, global consumer spend was highest on anti-ageing products in 2022, which includes hair dye and hair loss treatment products. This was reflected by ageing hair being reported as the number one global hair concern (58%) followed by damaged hair (54%) and scalp problems (42%). Hair loss as a symptom of COVID-19 also played a role in keeping it a top concern among consumers, even as the pandemic became more manageable in many parts of the world. This awareness aligns with pre-pandemic trends that promote overall scalp health.

imagep3uswj.pngSource: Voice of the Consumer Beauty Survey, fielded June 2022
Growing interest in the anti-ageing space is becoming more apparent among younger demographics. Stress and the increasing pace of life and feeling of uncertainty are influencing the appearance of premature ageing among Generation Z and millennials, a trend that emerged during the pandemic and is continuing during these times of political and economic trouble. This has led to the growing popularity of products claiming to have age-defying benefits, with the number of product SKUs globally tagged for treating hair loss increasing by 31% over 2021-2022, according to VIA. It is increasingly common to see dietary supplement players entering this space, with brands including Nutrafol and Arey launching naturally-formulated shampoos and treatments boasting anti-hair loss benefits.

The Voice of the Consumer: Beauty Survey demonstrates how consumer spending behaviour and concerns continue to change during times of economic uncertainty and post-pandemic life. Despite global inflation, shoppers are willing to invest in more expensive products to treat their top hair concerns, presenting opportunities for the growth of hair care, going forward.

To explore more insights about beauty consumers, read more on our blog on Top Priorities in Make-Up here.

For the key results of Euromonitor International’s 2022 Voice of the Consumer: Beauty Survey, read our report, here.

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