by Cyrus Bulsara
The hair color category has been one of the saving graces of the U.S. professional salon industry. This is true for both hair care service revenues and for product sales in particular. During the 2002-2007 period, when the all hair care products taken together grew only 3.2 percent, hair color product sales grew at 6.3 percent, nearly double the overall market growth rate.
Hair color remains the largest major hair care category, showing consistently excellent and solid growth. It also propels hair care service revenues at salon level, with hair color revenues growing at around 5 percent over the last five years. At $644 million in 2007, it is the largest salon hair care product category.
In the salon, hair color is projected to grow at approximately 5.5 percent over the next five years, with most of the business, understandabley, on the service side. In 2007, $590 million in product sales came from service or backbar products, while $54 million came from sales of salon-retail hair color refreshers designed to keep hair color “salon fresh” between services.
This projected growth is based on the demographic and fashion trends that have fueled the color business over the last 15 years. Salon gray coverage for an aging U.S. population will continue to grow, as the youngest of the baby boomers enter their mid-forties and millions remain in their high-spending fifties and early sixties. Young women and men alike use fashion color in following trends, like the shiny blonde “Beckham bob.”
New technology accelerates growth, and much is coming through the pipeline this year. Groundbreaking R&D innovations like Procter and Gamble’s “10-minute hair color,” initially launching this month in the mass retail market, will be adapted to salon color to drive traffic and volume.
Finally, at-home hair color refreshers—shampoos and conditioners that contain pigments, reflectors and conditioners that extend times between salon visits—are a secret profit asset, projected to grow salon retail hair color at double-digit rates.
|Service Type||2006||2007||% Increase|
|Cutting & styling||25.85||26.55||2.7|
|Perming & relaxing||8.64||8.81||2.0|
|Total of hair care services||47.0||48.6||3.3|
In 2007, hair color services at salon level grew by 5.3 percent from $12.54 billion to $13.20 billion.
At the grassroots salon level, some new forces are working to expand color business. While several chains have integrated simple color services into their traditional cut-and-go operations, the real story is happening among independent contractors. Booth rental salons are the major new salon industry growth phenomenon in hair color.