Hair care products have always been the cause of a lot of amazement and much confusion for my dear grandmother. She looks at them like they are some alien intrusion into my hair-care armory and asks amazedly– “abiselagane se kyahotahai?” (now, what is this supposed to do to your hair?) In this very amazement of hers I see how far the hair care industry in India has come. In my grandmother’s times taking care of the tresses simply meant oiling and washing them (not necessarily with a shampoo). From “champi” to conditioning and from mehendi to hair colorants, the hair care Industry in India has finally come of age!
The driving force behind the evolution of hair care from a toiletry to a beauty segment is the rising demand among urban women for healthy, glamorous hair which the manufacturers meet dutifully with their plethora of new products like serums, styling gels, hair masks, innovative colorants and so on. The ground is set for innovations and technologically advanced formulas and the hair care giants are gearing up to encash this!
Factors that Transformed Hair Care products
Let us have a look some emerging trends in the hair care market:
Factor#1 : Changing consumer needs
Expanding middle class population with rising income levels, increased awareness, international exposure and tireless advertising on the part of the manufacturers have together revolutionized consumer aspirations. Now the urban Indian woman is not scared of experimenting with products. There is a new willingness among them to spend money on their tresses for the desired results. Their shopping bags are now open to the pricier stuff!
Cleansing shampoos have receded in the background. Women want added benefits such as volume enhancement, color protection, clarity and so on apart from the traditional cleaning and conditioning.Matching conditioners, serums and hair masks are enjoying their popularity. Perming and hair relaxing which were non-existent a few years ago are slowly carving their niche is women’s styling regime. Even oiling is revamped now with various essential oils and the quick wash variants entering the hair care circuits. The professional hair-care market which was initially a virgin land is now attracting global beauty players to make an entry due to its untapped potential and conducive environment!
Factor#2 : Popularity of hair care treatments
Various trends that have been observed in hair care market include growing popularity of hair care treatments such as hair spa and deep nourishment. These products are gaining popularity along with conditioners, thus increasing number of product launches.
Factor#3 : Segmentation
Gone are the days when the “one size fits all” approach of brands would suffice the hair care needs of urban Indian women. These days there is a steep demand for “segmentation”. Brands are now realizing that every woman’s hair is different from the other and in order to appease them they are bringing forth larger and diverse varieties to suit their individual needs. The hair care industry is now getting divided into segmented niches focusing on dandruff control, hair loss, hair thinning, hair softening, shine, damage repair and so much more.
Factor#4 : An increased preference for organic products
A new tendency of moving towards organic and herbal products is beings noticed among Indian women. This is partly due to the harmful chemicals in the conventional hair care products and partly due to the latest fashion to go “au naturale”.
Factor#5 : Color Craze
Hair coloring which used to be a taboo at one point is now a hair-care necessity for urban women. They not only depend upon hair coloring to hide unwanted gray hair but also use it as a fashion accessory; switching shades to suit their whims. In fact, streaking and highlighting are now slowly becoming a fad among the younger women. The hair color brands are adding fuel to this wave of color craze by luring women with a rich and updated color pallet and ammonia-free variants.
At a glance the Indian hair care industry seems to be booming like never before. Then why is it that the per capita expenditure of hair care products in India is as low as 2$ whereas even emerging markets like Russia and Brazil are ahead in the game. This is because the development is this field is highly localized to the upper and the middle classes of the society. The women in the rural sections of the country are content washing their hair with toilet soaps and are unknown to concept of hair care. However, India is a land of great potential just waiting to be explored. The penetration hurdles faced by the leading hair care companies are slowly being overcome. They are popularizing products through sachet strategy and by adopting effective advertising gimmicks such as introducing Bollywood beauties. Large scale penetration and growth are on the cards.