Retail has become a serious consideration for many professional hair care brands looking to build awareness and increase sales. While some salon hair care players are still deciding whether to follow this new path or remain loyal to the salon distribution model, others have already turned it into success stories. As we’ve just published the United Kingdom volume of our Professional Hair Care Retailing: Channel Analysis and Opportunities report, take a closer look into this new trend with some key learnings:
Success Stories of Salon Hair Care Brands
Oribe is a fine example of a luxury salon hair care brand that can be found in several department and specialty stores in the U.K., including John Lewis, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Space NK. In addition, the brand is available through online shops such as Cult Beauty, Birchbox, and Net-A-Porter. A few years ago, Oribe also entered into a partnership with Amazon; it has thus far been positive, as Oribe is claiming its online sales make up 30% of its total sales, with the company expecting to reach a 50% share in the next few years.
Aveda and Bumble and bumble are other examples of established salon brands which can be found in almost every department store in the U.K. Bumble and bumble is the only professional brand sold at the biggest pharmacy and beauty chain, Boots.
OUAI is another brand making a splash in the retailing scene. With less than three years of history, this fast-growing indie brand has quickly populated U.S. stores, and the feedback was so positive that it further expanded into the U.K., Australia, and Canada in just three months. OUAI is sold in the U.K. through department stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis, Liberty, Debenhams, and Harrods. It is also distributed through the Space NK chain and is available through main e-commerce platforms such as Lookfantastic, Feelunique, and Amazon. OUAI’s success is based on digitally led marketing, as many of the company’s product launches are born from consumers’ feedback through Instagram.
Channels with the Best Growth Opportunities
E-commerce is the biggest and fastest-growing channel for sales of salon hair care products in the U.K. Pure-play players represent most of the salon hair care e-commerce sales, with Feelunique and Lookfantastic being the main players. Next in line are fast-growing online retailers that offer unique concepts such as Cult Beauty, Gorgeous Shop, All Beauty, and Birchbox.
Among specialty stores, Space NK shows the highest growth of salon hair care product sales, while the sales of Sally Beauty and Boots are stagnating in 2018.
Department stores, the smallest channel for sales of salon hair care brands in the U.K., are struggling, being challenged especially by consumers who prefer online shopping. Despite this, a few exceptions record a strong performance, including Harrods, Selfridges, John Lewis, and Harvey Nichols. These department stores have big investments in common and have also rapidly aligned their business model to recent trends, including a greater focus on online sales.
The Retailing Horizon Looks Bright
As we see product sales through salons continue to decline, we expect these auxiliary channels to increase in importance, especially e-commerce, which is expected to maintain its leading position. This channel is projected to further increase when Amazon upgrades its U.K. professional platform to match the U.S., Germany, and France, allowing professional hair care manufacturers to clean sales of third-party sellers. Salon hair care products are also likely to rise in beauty chains, partly driven by new concept stores such as Indulge Beauty. Department stores will also play a key role in the channel strategy as they provide something special: beauty advisors and the possibility of a unique shopping experience.
The Professional Hair Care Retailing: Channel Analysis and Opportunities study helps you quantify salon hair care product sales outside salons and assess which channels offer the best growth opportunities. The analysis is comprised of two volumes on the U.S. and U.K., each including market overview, channel profiles, and retailer snapshots.
Written by Jiri Michal, Project Manager Consumer Products, and Marcela Chifu, Senior Marketing Executive
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