UK hair care market suffers as consumer spend shrinks

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hair care market Marketing Hair conditioner Mintel

As the economic downturn continues to bite, UK consumers are spending less on both shampoo and conditioners, a new market study shows.

Females, traditionally by far the biggest spenders in this category, are particularly spending less on conditioner in a bid to reduce overall household expenditure, new market research information from Mintel reveals.

“The UK market for shampoos and conditioners is witnessing a downward trend and hair treatments such as conditioner are the most likely to be cut from the hair care regime in the current economic climate,”​ said Alexandra Richmond, senior beauty analyst at Mintel.

Currently valued at £685m (€796m) the market value has shrunk by approximately £15m in the space of the last year, a slump that Mintel largely attributes to the fact that a quarter of females it questioned have spent less on shampoo recently.

Manufacturer discounting and less consumer spend mean lower market value

The reason for this is not only a tightening of purse strings, but also attributable to price discounting, particularly on the part of major players such as Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal, which price sensitive consumers are tapping into.

“Advertising budgets have been cut and heavy price promotions at the point of sale are wooing consumers, a growing number of which are watching the pennies,”​ Richmond said.

Mintel believes that the discounting war is likely to wipe a further $6m from the value of the UK hair care market before the end of the year.

Market for shampoo shows slight increase

Breaking the figures down according to individual categories, the market for shampoo is said to have increased slightly from £395m in 2008 to £397m in 2009.

However, the estimate for the value of the conditioner category shows that spend has fallen by 2.6 per cent, from £311m to £303m during the course of the last 12 months.

Mintel predicts that this trend will continue, with its data showing that as many as 14 per cent of UK conditioner users stating that they have already completely cut conditioner out of their beauty routine.

Re-educating about conditioner use

“Re-education about conditioner benefits may present a future opportunity for the market,”​ Richmond said.

However, Mintel’s research information does show one potential area for opportunities, and that is trading up to products that help achieve salon-style results.

This has come about because consumers are cutting out expensive visits to hair care salon, which means many are now searching for products that can achieve the salon results they desire, but at home and at a reduced expense.

“The recession could drive demand towards products that protect and keep hair looking better for longer to help reduce the frequency of salon visits,”​ said Richmond.

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