According to the market researcher, the black haircare market increased by 13 percent from 1999 to 2004, a factor not unconnected to the black population increase.
"Haircare products are essential items, a factor that, with correct targeting, can tie growth of the market to population growth," said the report.
The 38 million blacks in the US currently account for just under 13 percent of the nation's population, and the black population is estimated to grow by 13 percent from 2000 to 2010.
According to the report, shampoos and conditioners were the only items in the black haircare sector to experience increased sales in supermarket and drug store retail channels, increasing by 11 percent from $42.5 million in 2002 to $47 million in 2004.
The strong sales were in large due to the 2003 introduction of Procter & Gamble's (P&G) Pantene Pro-V Relaxed & Natural shampoos and conditioners, which accounted for 20 percent of the segment sales in 2004.
And because this retail channel is the most popular outlet for such products, this gives a good indication of the overall black shampoo segment, said the report.
This is not the same for other black haircare products, where 90 percent of sales are through channels other than supermarkets and drugstores. Indeed, Mintel suggests that manufacturers may be losing out by not making products for black men more available through FDM (Food, Drug and Mass Merchandiser) channels.
According to Mintel, "46 percent of black women say they only buy products specifically for black hair, compared to only 36 percent of black men. Part of the reason may be that men are less likely to shop in a beauty supply or specialty store, and are more apt to make hair purchases through FDM, where black-specific items are generally less available."
"However, by not directing more products, and marketing, to black men, especially through FDM channels, companies may be missing an opportunity to capture black male consumers."
Indeed, it was not until the late 1990s that large cosmetics companies started to expand into the Black haircare market. In 1998, beauty products giant L'Oréal acquired black haircare company Soft Sheen, which it later merged with a further acquisition, Carson, into its SoftSheen-Carson division.
In 2003 the company also opened a multi-million dollar research and development laboratory in Chicago, called the L'Oreal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research, which claims to be the first lab focusing specifically on the beauty needs of people of color.
'Ethnic' hair care, skin care and color cosmetics, which in the US are almost entirely products designed for African-Americans, are also set to enjoy considerable growth. "Major cosmetics and toiletries manufacturers are watching these categories closely because they consider them major potential areas for growth," said a recent report by Euromonitor.
According to Euromonitor, blacks spend twice as much money on hair care products and substantially more on skin care than the average American.