In 2014, it is estimated that market value of haircare products formulated for Black consumers or specifically marketed to Black consumers is worth $774 million, up 2.5% over 2013 and 12% since 2009. Shampoo, conditioner, styling products, and hair color segments have experienced steady increases, which may be due to the natural hair trend, fewer salon visits, and availability of Black brands in mainstream stores. Looking to the future, if sales continue to increase as they have, it is estimated that the market for Black haircare will reach $876 million by 2019. These are the five trends set to shape the black haircare market in the next five years:

1. Increased use of home ingredients

Natural haircare products nearly died at the close of the 70s, and several brands that were prevalent during that time period have resurrected themselves and in some cases rebranded and recreated themselves and their image. For centuries, Black consumers have relied on home remedies or concoctions to use on their hair. Today, Black consumers are still using some of these ingredients that were handed down from their parents and grandparents. While marketers have done a good job of incorporating some of these tried and true ingredients in products aimed at the Black community, people are still using homemade concoctions. The internet, especially video bloggers on social networking sites like YouTube have propagated the use of home ingredients. These videos provide helpful tips on ingredients that help certain scalp and hair conditions – from how to relax hair with all-natural ingredients to how to eliminate dandruff. Some consumers aren’t necessarily looking to substitute the products they buy, but others are looking for healthier alternatives, without the harsh chemicals.

2. Growth of relaxer alternatives and related product claims

Historically, Black consumers had more of a reactive approach to repairing damage to their hair. Today, there are many products on the market that enable them to be more proactive, particularly for people who wear natural hairstyles. Product claims, such as anti-aging will continue to grow, due to market demand – particularly among people who went natural after years of applying products that were damaging. Given the consistent decline in relaxer sales, some relaxer companies may begin looking into innovation and new product advancements that are safer and seen as less harmful alternatives to relaxers.

3. Expansion of retail channels 

Weave is still popular. As a result the industry will come out with less harmful ways to wear extensions. Companies will introduce more products that will allow consumers to care for and maintain at home. There is also a trend of Black women moving away from synthetic hair to human hair. While it can be extremely expensive depending on how it’s applied, some women are willing to make the investment because it can be treated like their own hair, and can be reused over and over. As more women wear this type of hair, they will have to invest in products to maintain it. Weave is still a huge opportunity, but the weaves that Black women buy aren’t sold in mass merchandisers or food or drug outlets. Most people who buy weave or extensions buy them from online or independent, local beauty supply stores. Retailers looking to expand and grow haircare sales should consider adding a range of popular weave or extensions. While many Blacks buy products from independent retailers, the variety of Black brands that are now sold at mass merchandisers and food or drug stores is increasing. Many retailers carry some of the products, but may not carry the brand’s full line, due to shelf space. Still, making these brands available in stores opens the door for many companies to get exposure, and piques interest among consumers in other products in their portfolio.

4.  More products geared toward bi-racial consumers

With the growth of multiracial consumers, we’ll see more products geared toward bi-racial consumers (eg, Mixed Chicks, Treasured Locks, Curls, Curls Unleased, etc). One segment of Blacks that struggle finding products for their hair are bi-racial consumers – Black Hispanics, Ethiopians, Haitians, etc – whether they wear it straight (flat ironed) or naturally curly. The problem is many mainstream brands dry out their hair, while Black brands are too heavy and weigh their hair down. There are some brands that recognize these populations are growing in the US and have developed products specifically for this demographic, as well as their babies and children. These are brands that should definitely be on marketers’ watch lists for the coming years.

5. Growth of credible celebrity branded products

Celebrities, particularly entertainers in the music industry and reality TV stars have an influence on the hairstyles Black consumers wear. The prevalence of Black people on the big screen and TV is helping to bring exposure to various styles – weave, hair colors, etc. If celebrities are used to promote products, it needs to be believable that the celebrity would actually use the product. It may be more believable if the celebrity talked about products their stylist uses on them, or for brands to focus on the character that the celebrities play. Another opportunity exists for celebrity-branded haircare products. Consumer desire to recreate the look of their favorite actress or reality star could translate to sales of a celebrity-branded haircare line.

Tonya Roberts boasts more than 20 years of market research experience. Her extensive market research background encompasses a wide variety of industries, including consumer packaged goods, automotive and insurance.

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