Consumers are proving increasingly discerning and keen to shop around for products directly relevant to their personal needs and desires, it says.
“No longer placing blind faith in branding alone, consumers are actively researching products specific to their hair type, style, gender and ethnicity,” the report observes.
“Shoppers have also become more interested in the composition of their hair care products, and search volumes for ingredients like keratin and tea tree oil are climbing upward.”
Just 40% of Google Hair Care searches specify a brand, according to the L2 report, which is low for what marketers think of as an equity-driven vertical. The report considers hair care and colour brands and products.
Amazon: indie brand incubator
L2 suggests that Amazon has stoked the rise of the competitive hair care scene, noting that it has 'served as an incubator' for indie brands, fuelling consumer appetite or 'super ingredients' and buzzword elements in beauty and personal care products.
“In 2016, ingredient-oriented brand ArtNaturals was the fastest growing CPG brand online, experiencing a sixfold increase in sales driven by product discovery on Amazon,” the L2 report says.
The firm notes that more mainstream brands are angling to take advantage of this trend too: it points to Herbal Essences as an example, noting that the brand's new Bio-Renew line promotes trendy ingredients like coconut milk, vitamin E and cocoa butter.
Winning with speed
Being nimble and reactive is giving indie brands the edge when it comes to the hair care market, according to the L2 report.
“Unencumbered by the distribution and equity considerations that weigh upon estabilished players, nimble hair care startups are digital-first, quick to experiement with new social products, mobile shopping solutions, personalization, and 'fast-hair' trend marketing,” says the report.
“To maintain their relevance in this quickly evolving digital landscape, established brands are , are fortifying their site content, making hefty display advertising investments and strengthening their entrenched retail partnerships.”