China’s haircare market is significant, and there’s plenty of headroom to grow. Mintel, a market research firm, estimates China’s haircare market will grow to RMB 53.6 billion (USD 7.6 billion) by 2021.
The market’s increasing growth is driven by premiumization and specific haircare issues affecting the Chinese population.
In terms of premiumization, sales of premium hair care products are increasing in all geographies. China’s wealthier coastal provinces – Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong – lead the way. Premiumization is taking consumers from shampoos and conditioners priced between RMB 50 and 100 to products well over 100 RMB. This trend works in imported brands’ favor.
Alongside premiumization, China’s consumers are struggling with premature baldness. The China Association of Health Promotion and Education reveals that China’s premature hair loss population stands at a whopping 250 million, most of them between 20 and 40 years old. The desire to stave off premature baldness drives additional consumption and increased sophistication when looking at hair care formulations.
Image source: VCG Photo
With that context in mind, let’s have a look at the three key opportunities in China’s haircare market for imported brands.
1. Anti-Breakage Shampoo in China’s Haircare Market
One of the first courses of action for young consumers suffering with early onset hair loss is strengthening or anti-breakage shampoo. There are over 50,000 product reviews of anti-breakage shampoos on Little Red Book. From these reviews, we can see consumers are looking for formulations result in less shedding after showering and during sleep. However, brands should be aware that most consumers are anxious for solutions to work quickly – they’re looking for some small signs of progress after a few washes!
From our analysis of product reviews, and previous projects in the category, imported anti-breakage shampoos that hit the mark with consumers include:
- Living Proof
- Amino Mason
2. Volumizing Shampoo in China’s Haircare Market
Outside anti-breakage shampoo, consumers are also looking at volumizing shampoos to deal with thinning hair and receding hairlines. More volume and texture gives consumers confidence that issues with thinning hair can be masked or disguised. Relative to anti-breakage shampoos, volumizing shampoos have lower levels of awareness but higher levels of spend per item. This suggests that those who are in the know are prepared to spend on solutions that work.
There are over 10,000 product reviews of volumizing shampoos on Little Red Book. From our analysis of product reviews, the brands that consistently hit the mark with consumers in this sub-category include:
- Living Proof
- Philip B
- John Masters Organics
If you’d like to know more about why these brands resonate, get in touch with our team for a free consultation.
3. Color and Style Products in China’s Haircare Market
While premature hair loss is an issue for China’s millennials, it certainly isn’t the only opportunity in China’s growing haircare market. Indeed, CBNData’s “High-End Hair Care Industry Consumer Insight Report” (2019) showed that hair dye had some of the fastest growth on China’s e-commerce platforms. COVID-19, which forced lockdowns across China, has accelerated this trend.
Post 95s, who make up 30% of the DIY hair dye sales, are looking for new ways to express themselves, and turn their hair into a canvas for self-expression.
Compared to the previous two opportunities, many of the most popular brands in this sub-category come from Japan and South Korea. They include:
- MISE EN SCENE
- Rishiri Kombu
Image source: Tmall EZN product page
Each of the above sub-categories are rich with opportunities. Consumers are still discovering the best solutions that work, and they’re open to trying niche imported brands. If you’re looking at this market, talk with our research and e-commerce teams to work out the best approach for you to gain traction with hair-obsessed millennials.