Ready to roll? Why India’s hair care market is due for an upgrade

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

India's hair care market provides significant opportunities for brands. ©GettyImages
India's hair care market provides significant opportunities for brands. ©GettyImages

Related tags: Hair, India

India’s hair care market has yet to evolve past the basic products and routines, providing significant opportunities for brands – especially those which can use local ingredients.

A basic haircare regime in India would involve products such as shampoo and hair oil as it mostly revolves around hygiene and grooming.

According to Mintel research, 87% of Indian consumers have used shampoo in the last 6 months, while 70% have used hair oil. Only 22% have used a rinse-off conditioner.

Among women, 93% have used a shampoo, 27% have used a rinse-off conditioner and 73% have used hair oil.

“Hair care in India is still basic and it is important for brands to expand their reach through appropriate communication and promotion​,” said Nidhi Sinha, head of content, Mintel Indian consumer.

However, with rising awareness of different hair care routines and products such as scalp treatments are opening up opportunities for beauty and personal care brands in the market.

Hair care concerns

According to Mintel, the rising concerns among Indian consumers today revolve mostly around pollution, UV rays and hair loss.

Besides building basic benefits like nourishing and smoothing, brands are now expected to create products with advanced benefits.

Having more sophisticated claims and multiple benefits can help companies resonate with fast-paced urbanites looking to maintain their hair with the least amount of effort.

“Consumers’ natural inclination towards oil and shampoo and demand for multiple benefits in a single product is causing a shift beyond basic products to more advanced haircare categories like conditioners and styling agents,”​ said Sinha.

The firm’s research showed that two in five Indian consumers believe that pollution impacts hair appearance, opening up significant opportunities for brands to address these growing concerns.

These concerns are driving consumer interest in pollution-proof claims in the scalp care and hair care category.

“Products with functional ingredients like antioxidants that protect against UV rays, heat and pollution will redefine the haircare segment in India,”​ Sinha added.

Another way to a capture consumer interest is to utilise natural ingredients.

Mintel noted that the popularity of veganism was growing in India and that for many consumers, vegan products are considered natural.

Haircare brands can take advantage of the vegan trend by launching plant-based products or incorporating trusted natural ingredients like coconut and olive into current formulations.

“It is important for haircare brands to build on the familiarity of local ingredients to help resonate with consumers and also dispel their fears about products and ingredients. For example, usage of coconut-based ingredients for hair care products created for South India,”​ said Sinha.

She added that companies should focus on packaging as well given that consumers are increasingly becoming conscious of what goes into the pack and how it impacts their wellbeing along with the impact on the environment.

Men’s haircare

Sinha noted that companies should also pay attention to the male grooming category as Indian Men are increasingly becoming conscious of their appearance.

Mintel research highlighted that 45% of men considered a clean shave and trimmed nails to be a sign of being well-groomed; while 33% consider glowing skin to be a sign of being well-groomed.  Additionally, 37% of men admit that their appearance is very important to them.

Sinha said: “It is important for brands and companies to reach out to men through digital channels as they are leaning towards online channels to seek more information and to purchase. There is an opportunity for brands to offer multi-functional products to help them follow a routine without the hassle of too many steps.”

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