As one of the hotly-tipped trends for this year is the further development of megabrand portfolios, one obvious target will be the hair care category. For some years the value of this highly mature category has remained stagnant as manufacturers struggle to inject new vitality into it.
One means of increasing sales has been to concentrate on niche functional products. This has led to a rash of products being launched on the market targeting specific conditions, such as dry, frizzy or difficult to style hair.
Judging by the number of new hair care products appearing on Mintel's GNPD under established megabrand labels, it appears that the futher expansion of such labels will become a significant trend in 2006.
Styling products have been one of the few areas where hair care manufacturers have continued to reap further growth. One of the most successful European brands has been L'Oreal's Studio. In recent years this brand's portfolio has been expanded heavily to incorporate the needs of specific hair styles and hair types.
The latest addition to the portfolio is Invis Gel Super Strong. This is a new formula that provides a strong hold, but with the incorporation of the Invisi Fix Technology it also means that the gel is quickly absorbed by the hair follicle so it is not evident that the product is being used.
Proctor & Gamble's Pantene is another brand that has come to the fore in the hair care arena. Known more for conditioner and shampoo products, its latest launch is a styling product that concentrates on the ever-popular 'hair issue' - frizz.
It all started with the Frizz-Ease brand, launched at the end of the 90s. But now everyone is getting involved and the bigger brands have recognized the opportunity too. Pantene's Pro-V Style Anti-Frizz is a definition cream for curly hair that also has an anti-frizz agent.
Unilever's Sunsilk brand has been around for what seems like an eternity in Europe. And successful extensions to the portfolio means that it looks set be around for some time to come.
The most recent addition to the Sunsilk name is a Winter Intensive conditioner. This product is interesting for two reason. Firstly that it focuses on the increasing demand for natural ingredients by including ginseng and amber extract, and secondly that it also targets a very specific hair condition common during the winter period - static hair.
Another big brand that focuses on the inclusion of natural ingredients is Proctor & Gamble's Clairol Herbal Essence range. The latest launch is a repackaged shampoo with kiwi, kumquat and fig extract that is aimed at normal to greasy hair. The specific formulation of this product is said to cleanse hair from the roots to the ends.
As all of these products testify, expanding the barriers to the leading hair care brands looks like it will continue to provide a continued source of new product innovation, as well as stretching the boundaries of existing portfolios.
This range of products is from a selection contained on Mintel's Global New Products Database.