Chinese consumers are highly engaged in the hair colourant category, but opportunities exist to raise usage rates among the younger demographic.

China’s colourant craze

Hair colourants are a relatively small component of China’s haircare category, but the segment’s sizeable sales gains in recent years have increased its visibility with consumers and manufacturers alike. The market has posted double digit increases annually since 2005, with sales topping CNY 2 billion in 2011. Through to 2015, an additional 40% uptick is expected, when the market will be valued at more than CNY 2.8 billion.
Chinese consumers’ interest in the colourant category has definitely contributed to its impressive performance. Two thirds of Chinese adults use colourants, which is considerably higher than many major markets. Across the Big 5 European countries, for example, usage of colourants peaks in France where 45% of the female population tint their hair. Even in the US, home to the largest colourant market in the world, usage stands at just 38%.
Despite consumers’ heavy engagement in the segment, China’s colourant market has room to grow in comparison to the rest of the world. In 2012, colourants accounted for 11% of haircare launch activity in China, making it the country’s least active segment, while global colourant introductions captured 15% of the haircare category. Considering Chinese consumers’ heightened usage rates, manufacturers would be wise to ramp up their selection of innovative offerings in the country.

Classifying colourant consumers

Younger consumers are often targeted by haircare manufacturers as a result of their experimental nature and willingness to try new products. When it comes to hair colourants, however, usage typically skews toward an older demographic. This distinction is evident in many key colourant markets and is apparent in China too.

China hair colouring infographics
Chinese adults aged 20-29 are least likely to use hair colourants, with just 21% reporting usage on a monthly basis. Hair colourants are the least frequently purchased products within the haircare category, but younger consumers are by far the most disengaged segment of the Chinese population. Conversely, Chinese adults aged 40-49 are the heaviest users of hair colourants, with nearly three quarters dipping into them.
What’s next
New formats and evolving consumer preferences will weaken the anti-grey colourant market, challenging existing players
The hair colourant market has been a hot spot for innovation in recent years and dynamic R&D is to be expected in the future. New formats such as foams, powders and chalks have emerged as convenient alternatives to traditional creams and dyes. The next iteration will build on consumers’ desire for easy-to-use options and has already been touched upon by a top name in the colourant category, L’Oréal.

Find out more
This content is derived from Mintel’s premium intelligence service for the beauty & personal care industry including research across consumers, product innovation and companies & trends.
Learn more at Mintel Beauty & Personal Care.
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