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China hair care consumers drop value in favor of more targeted products

By Simon Pitman , 22-Sep-2011

Whereas Chinese hair care consumers were once driven by dual-function products and value-for-money, new research finds that products catering for specific needs are en vogue.

This is the findings from research carried out by Randy Wang, project manager with Reed Sinopharm, which is the organizer of the forthcoming industry event PCHi, to be held in Shanghai, China from February 27 – 29, 2012.

The market for hair care is the second biggest in China, and is currently estimated to account for approximately 15 percent of all cosmetics and toiletry products sold in the country each year.

The research highlights statistics provided by RNCOS that claims the category is projected to grow by 15.5 percent (CAGR) between 2011 and 2013, a figure that dwarfs stagnant growth rates currently seen in the big US and European markets.

Boom in targeted shampoos and conditioners

Driving this growth has been a huge boom in the number of products targeting specific hair care issues, including specialized shampoos and conditioners for moisturizing and repairing, dandruff treatments or products that claim to straighten or smooth the hair follicles.

This demand for more sophisticated products falls in line with rising incomes, which means basic necessities are becoming more and more affordable, in turn pushing consumers towards increasingly towards sophisticated and luxurious purchases.

Hitting upon the trend for micro-segmentation, the research stresses how success in the category will often depend on how clearly and effectively manufacturers can differentiate their products and demonstrate how their brands are targeting specific hair care needs.

Chinese consumers often perceive their hair to be damaged

An example of how the Chinese consumers perceive their hair care needs is provided by a reference to a study commissioned by Procter & Gamble, which is also contained in Wang’s report.

This study highlights how 88 percent of consumers questioned in the city of Shanghai said they believed their hair to be ‘damaged’, while respondents in Beijing and Guangzhou seemed to be less concerned, with 70 percent and 58 percent believing their hair to be damaged.

Wang believes that these findings mean hair care providers should be targeting the China hair care market with high-end professional or cosmeceutical products that are marketed as high-end if they want to tap into one of the newest and fastest growing hair care trends.

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