Skincare’ concepts take root in China’s haircare market

April 28, 2021
  • China’s haircare market retained a steady growth rate of 4.8% in 2020, reaching a market value of RMB48.7 billion
  • 94% of urban Chinese consumers think that haircare is as important as skincare
  • Nourishing is as important as deep cleaning (both 64%) for Chinese consumers

In addition to prioritising good skincare, having healthy, light and supple hair has now become a top concern for Chinese consumers. Latest research from Mintel reveals that 90% of urban Chinese consumers consider haircare to be as important as skincare. As a result, China’s shampoo and haircare market is experiencing steady and sustained growth and is expected to reach RMB60.5 billion by 2025.

In fact, in 2020, Chinese consumers used more haircare products. Female consumers, in particular, are moving away from traditional conditioners and are switching to leave-in hair oils/serums and hair masks. For example, 42% of Chinese female consumers purchased leave-in hair oils/serums in 2020, compared to 39% in 2019; 34% of Chinese female consumers bought a hair mask in 2020, an increase of 2% compared to 2019. The research indicates that Chinese female consumers would like to see more product development and claims that speak to efficacy and improving hair quality. While male consumer’s routines are primarily driven by simplicity, including the use of more 2-in-1 shampoos and conditioners,  in 2020, men adopted the use of more haircare products: 16% of Chinese male consumers bought hair conditioner in 2020, up from 11% in 2019. 

Mintel Beauty and Personal Care Analyst Anne Yin says, “Growth in China’s haircare market is driven by the conditioner and treatment segment and is attributed to female consumers adopting a greater variety of haircare products, as well as  both male and female consumers adopting scalp care products, despite the fact that it is a newer sector. Meanwhile, with consumers as keen to care for their hair as they are for their skin, brands have been active in launching new products and bringing skincare concepts into haircare products, all of which has supported a steady growth of the near-saturated shampoo segment.”

Claims blurred from skincare categories are widely accepted

At present, as the concept of “skincare” becomes embedded in the haircare industry, product claims related to hair care products also reflect the purchasing needs of consumers. In general, urban Chinese consumers still like traditional claims such as nourishment (64%) and repairing (53%), but fortifying (34%) and volumising (33%) have become less popular.  Interestingly, consumers are responding well to care claims that cross over into the skincare category, such as deep cleaning (64%), enhanced resilience for hair/scalp (55%), balancing (53%), protective (44%) and soothing (35%).

Anne Yin explains, “Claims blurred from skincare categories are expected to continue appearing in haircare products as demanded by Chinese consumers, bettering traditional claims’ resonance, while also complementing additional benefits. With function upgrades – such as better haircare results and covering from the scalp and roots to ends – and the expansion in usage of relatively niche formats are estimated to continue driving market growth.”

Chinese consumers are keen to try new things

Chinese consumers are keen to try new things, whether it’s constantly changing products or trusting new brands, with 66% of urban Chinese consumers saying they don’t like to keep using the same haircare products. According to Mintel research, urban Chinese female consumers aged 25-39 are the most active explorers, with 71% stating that they dislike using the same products and 74% saying they trust new haircare brands. 

However, when choosing products, 67% of Chinese consumers consider ‘especially targeting my hair problems’ as the reason for trying new haircare products, and 66% consider ‘especially targeting my hair conditions’ as the reason.

Anne Yin concludes, “Chinese consumers’ trials of new products are driven mainly by benefits especially targeting their hair problems and hair conditions, similar to the function-led skincare market. Benefits driven product design and communication are expected to go further to include more ingredient level information and benefit mechanism education. Moreover, customisation in caring benefits could also help products meet individuals’ demands better.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with our analyst team, please contact the Mintel Press Office at

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