Salon Hair Care | 29 markets

How the Salon Industry Is Adapting to Change/the New Normal

Early Insights from 10+ Countries Researched

The salon hair care market has taken a hard hit throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Impacted by temporary closures in many countries, salons needed to find new ways to survive the crisis. Which countries were most affected by the pandemic, and what has shifted?

In North America, marketers are reconnecting with stylists, while consumers are turning to at-home solutions.

In the United States, despite expected declines due to the temporary closures of salons and key services such as coloring, marketers have used the quarantine to find new ways to connect with and support stylists. One of the more popular initiatives is affiliate programs. These programs, often from brands with a strong digital presence such as R+Co and Olaplex, provide stylists with links to share with clients for product purchases through marketer websites. Many brands often encouraged this practice over curbside pickup at salons.

On the other hand, in Canada, hair coloring products and services accounted for significantly more sales in the market than in the United States. Salon owners have been faced with multiple hits to the hair coloring business―many consumers embraced going gray, while temporary salon closures prevented in-person services for a number of months across the country. With the closure of salons, consumers in both the United States and Canada often turned to at-home solutions such as boxed hair coloring. Some consumers have come to realize that these services are best left to professionals, resulting in the rise of hair masks and conditioning products to treat damaged locks.

Asia-Pacific is accelerating e-commerce, and marketers are offering support to stylists via online sessions.

In Australia, India, and Indonesia, e-commerce has taken center stage. Previously, many marketers were against selling products online. However, with the outbreak of the pandemic, several started selling online or encouraged their salon partners to market their products online; marketers offered the necessary support to salons and hairstylists via webinars and online training sessions. In addition, marketers have become prominently active on social media platforms for both marketing and training sessions.

E-commerce is the saving grace for many European markets, while independent stylists are swiftly claiming a share of the salon industry.

In the United Kingdom, major sales shifts toward online beauty giants like LookFantastic, FeelUnique, and Notino have been observed. Meanwhile, High Street brick-and-mortars are on the verge of collapse, many of them working as showrooms for collections of online purchases. With prolonged lockdown periods and insufficient state support for salon owners, many U.K. hairdressers decided to go mobile, increasing the portion of the industry made of self-employed workers even more. Our estimates from the Independent Stylists: Global Market Brief study show that more than 60% of U.K. hairdressing stylists were independent in 2020; this number is expected to increase even higher in 2021.

Similarly, in France, e-commerce has been the channel that saved the market from crumbling further, with sales growing substantially there in 2020. Most brands have focused on developing their sales and presence online through their websites, e-players, and even salon web-shops. Some brands were more agile than others and adjusted to the situation quickly; L’Oréal was among those most prepared for an online shift.

In Italy, the growth of online sales and curbside pickups did not compensate manufacturers’ revenues lost through salons. Product kits, with both hair care and hair coloring products and tools, were widely marketed and supported by online tutorials and virtual consultations.

Sweden is among the countries that experienced the least impact on professional hairdressing product sales. Due to light measures applied by the government, almost no salon lockdowns, and government support programs, the market stayed in good condition in 2020.

Belgium is one of the European markets that suffered a big hit, closing for a long period. Salons were suffering significantly compared to Belgium’s neighbors; in addition, the lack of control at borders permitted customers to drive to France, the Netherlands, or Germany to cut/color their hair, which caused the market to not fully benefit from salon reopenings.

Kline’s Salon Hair Care Series represents a comprehensive analysis of the global professional hair care market, examining changes during the COVID-19 pandemic and the road to recovery from the global crisis. For the first time, brand sales by channels will be reported, as well as a record number of 29 markets including newly added Central European and Balkan regions.

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