Personalisation in India: Opportunities abound for brands in the hair care sector

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

Indian consumers are looking for more personalised options and convenient formats in hair care. ©Getty Images
Indian consumers are looking for more personalised options and convenient formats in hair care. ©Getty Images

Related tags India Hair care Personalisation

Indian consumers are embracing diverse hair types, and seeking more personalised options and convenient formats, which underscores the potential for product innovation and sector growth.

Data from Mintel showed that the growth rate of India’s hair care category, based on new product launches in the country, has been stagnant in the last five years.

Specifically, both shampoo and conditioner subcategories grew by only 2% between the October 2018-September 2019 and October 2022-September 2023 periods — 41% to 43% for shampoo and 13% to 15% for conditioner. Hair treatment products fell from 30% to 28%.

In spite of this, it was found that 35% of Indian consumers have increased their time spent on hair care routines in the six months leading to September 2023, with 44% expressing interest in personalised products tailored to their individual hair characteristics.

This is attributed to an increasing awareness of diverse hair types and textures among consumers. Some 71% of Indians identify their hair type as straight, while 16% and 8% believe they have curly and wavy hair respectively.

In fact, “wavy and curly hair” are picking up steam in Google Trends searches.

“This is an opportunity for brands to challenge the conventional notion [among Indian consumers] that beauty is confined to one particular hair texture, and celebrate unique and varied hair characteristics.

“There is also potential to revitalise hair care innovation as Indian consumers are spending more time on their regimes and show a willingness to experiment, especially with personalised options,” ​Twinkle Behl, Beauty and Personal Care Analyst at Mintel Reports India, said.

Additionally, Mintel’s global consumer research observed that Indian consumers with curly hair perceive their hair as being more prone to damage, such as dull hair (16%), split ends (14%) and dry hair (12%), leading them to seek conditioners with moisturising claims.

“Brands can increase the sales of their hair care and styling products by highlighting damage protection and hydration benefits. Our research indicates that brands can leverage the evolving preferences of Indian consumers to drive innovation for specific applications.

“For example, homegrown brand Ravel offers a hair care range based on individual hair types focusing on hair concerns such as hair fall and hair loss.”

Room for innovative offerings

While hair oil remains a dominant format in hair treatment products, there is a growing group of consumers who are exploring new formats, such as leave-in treatments, for convenience.

This is particularly evident among consumers with wavy hair, as 20% of them are experimenting with new formats, compared to 11% of the total research sample.

On the other hand, “advanced formats”, such as hair mask and hair mousse, have yet to gain traction in this market.

“About two in five (41%) of ‘evolved hair care users’ — consumers who are using new product formats, including leave-in treatments, dry shampoos, hair styling sprays, or waxes — express challenges with washing off hair oils. This suggests a potential shift towards more convenient hair treatment formats.

“Brands have a significant opportunity to increase usage of these new formats by positioning them as effective solutions for addressing hair concerns, such as hair loss and thinning hair.

“They should work on enhancing product functionality and emphasise key features like convenience and fragrance to make their products more appealing. Special attention should be paid to consumers with wavy hair, who seek specialised products for added nourishment,” ​Behl added.  

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