CEW Business Event What Next for Hair?
On the 19th of November, EY hosted an evening to identify the latest trends shaping the global hair product market. Worldwide, hair care will be worth an eye-watering $81 billion in 2015 and the category accounts for more than half of all beauty related searches on Google.
In collaboration with Unilever, a panel of experts spanning digital, retail and salon presented their views on “What next for Hair”.
Facilitated by Heather Mitchell, Global Head of PR & Social Media at Unilever Hair, the panel included; Flynn Matthews, Beauty Industry Analyst at Google, Jo Lee, Vice President Merchandising UK at QVC, Aaron Carlo, Hair Session Stylist, Christel Lundqvist, Global Technical Director at TIGI, and Zahra Bishop, Beauty Buyer at Harvey Nichols.
The hair care market is growing at an exponential rate, with Unilever selling over 38 billion hair care products annually in over 70 countries. Google have been closely monitoring the activity of the beauty industry and are particularly interested in the increasingly popular hair care sector. The leading search engine is able to track trends globally and can share valuable information with marketers as to how brands can effectively resonate with their customers.
Flynn Matthews of Google has analysed collated data and found that UK consumers are finding hair care hugely important and are generally more experimental that their US counterparts, with searches for pastel tones and vibrant styles ranking highly. Interestingly, men in the UK are also embracing current hair care trends, following the lead of sports stars, celebrities and local influencers.
From a retailer perspective, hair care is similarly booming. QVC are selling more beauty products than ever before, encompassing 36% of their business with hair care a large proportion of this. Consumers are hungry for products that tell a story and keep them engaged. Jo Lee of QVC believes that it is this bespoke approach that makes QVC so important to consumers, with product experts taking them through every step and fully educating them on how to use the product.
Harvey Nichols too sees stylish, well informed customers seeking a personal shopping experience. Zahra Bishop of Harvey Nichols thinks the bespoke approach taken by the retailer and high levels of customer service is why customers spend substantial periods of time in store purchasing prestige hair care. Bespoke services are also on the increase, and Harvey Nichols is hoping to tap into this market where they already provide a bespoke mascara service, they would like to do something similar in hair care.
When it comes to styling, trends emerge from a number of different sources. The power of celebrity remains omnipresent and customers continue seeking to replicate the styles of those in the media eye. Aaron Carlo is a renowned industry stylist who has worked with some of the industry’s biggest names and is currently styling X Factor hopefuls. He predicts that 2016 is the year of ‘experimentation’ and ‘aspiration’ and will see people taking bigger risks with their hair but wanting the end result to look effortless and un-done. Perfect blow dries are no longer the modus operandi and we’ll see a shift away from pristine style towards cool and understated looks in 2016.
Colour remains a powerful player in hair care and something consumers are acutely aware of. In the past two decades, the colour industry has developed massively and in the past five years we’ve seen the mainstream emergence of extreme colours, both with celebrities and consumers. Cristel Lundqvist sees the evolution of colour moving towards customisation and believes that 2016 will be the year of bespoke hair colouring. Referencing ‘pixelated’ hair and contouring, Cristel believes it is the desire to feel unique and individual that will mould the future of the colour industry.
It is very obvious just how important hair is, and what an exciting time it is to be working in this industry. The expert panel seem in agreement that today’s consumer is seeking personal experiences that offer a bespoke feel and trends suggest that the hair care remit will continue to flourish in 2016.
CEW would like to thank EY for hosting this CEW business event.