Budget conscious consumers have switched to less expensive hair care brands
Despite being generally rather stable, the personal care and cosmetics industry has not escaped the recession entirely unscathed. Budget-conscious consumers have sought out lower-priced alternatives to salon-based premium priced goods and services, and switched to the less expensive brands available at major retailers, online vendors, and health food stores. Many have elected to forego visits to the salon and do their own chemical processes, such as hair color, at home. The result of this trend has been a slight decrease in typical growth compared to previous years. Fortunately, examination of the current research and development focus in the industry reveals that this is a new opportunity for manufacturers to demonstrate their versatility and ability to meet the demands of their dynamic market.
Improving Quality at Lower Price Points
One response to the changing customer preferences has been the investment of research and development resources into new and improved products that target mass market price points. Recent strategies have included enhancing existing brands with the addition of new high performance additives, offering sulfate-free shampoos, expanding current product lines, and recategorizing products to target specific hair types (especially curly and ethnic hair). Providing consumers with better value by offering larger-sized packages of products has also been a popular approach. Another area where the industry has developed in response to customer preferences is the "green" market sector—where customers demand products with fewer petroleum-derived ingredients, more plant-based materials, and packaging and processes that are sustainable and environmentally conscientious.
As more consumers choose to dye and maintain their own hair color at home, do-it-yourself products have been the focus of intense research at multiple companies. The culmination of several years of work is the launching of several new home hair color lines that utilize foam delivery technology. John Frieda, Clairol, Henkel and Samy are all marketing these products, both in the United States and Europe.