The Explosion of Dry Shampoo Launches- Trend Watch UK, Are the Brits ahead of the Trend Because of More Effective Social Media Marketing?
If you haven’t noticed, there are a zillion brands of dry shampoos/hair powders on the market at this very moment. Well, really only about 200- but in total references at least 500 different products are available on Amazon.com alone. Which seems like a zillion, in proportion to the relatively low current consumer uptake.
According to 2012 Mintel research, a meager 16% of US adults reported usage of a dry shampoo in the last year. Across the Big 5 European markets (UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy), usage is even lower than the US, but peaks in the UK where nearly a quarter (23%) of women are engaged in the segment. Although this figure has surely risen over the past 5 years, demand outside of the UK still seems disproportionate to the launch dynamic. I asked dozens of women around me if they had every used or considered using dry shampoo, and most had never even thought about it. And I did ask a very beauty conscious lot..
SO why are the Brits so far ahead of the trend? Study results point to a recent trend of less frequent hair washing, and that 40% of women attribute their habit changes to the increased appeal of dry shampoos on the market, which buys them more time between washes. British women’s habits and motivations are no different than any other beauty conscious woman with a busy lifestyle, and product accessibility is relatively similar. So there must be something else to their "dirty" little secret.. is it possible that an element of product knowledge is in play..?
I dug deeper and found some interesting findings published by the award winning PR agency Mason Williams. UK bloggers were found to be far more commercially successful than others across Europe. The study was conducted by IPREX using a Pan-Regional “Blogbarometer” and found that 93% of bloggers in the UK had been contacted for PR and marketing purposes, compared to just 68% in Europe. And, 49% of UK bloggers earned revenue from blogging versus 16% in Europe, and only 9% in the US.
I think we can draw a few conclusions from the statistics..
1) Companies and brands in the UK seem to be more aware of the power of blogs to influence consumer decisions, and are integrating it more effectively into their marketing strategies.
2) British bloggers are more commercially savvy, and possibly better at content. After all, they are known for their sense of humor; and I have read more than one British beauty post that had me laughing out loud at the biting sarcasm.
3) More effective engagement between bloggers and brands has resulted in higher awareness of product features and trends, and in turn higher usage.
During my years in the profession as a buyer for cosmetics I always found it difficult to sort through the clutter of a constant onslaught of launches. And now as an ordinary consumer, I find it even more daunting. Consumers (and not only the milleniums) are looking more than ever to social media to help them sort through it.
Furthermore, this clutter of new products, is particularly applicable to dry shampoo, where the launches are copious, the brand positioning and product offers diverse, and the disparities of retail channels not conducive to clarity for the consumer.
Mini overview of the Dry Shampoo Market (not including on line only channels)
According to Mintel, the new product launches have increased by 500% from 2009 to 2014. And based on feedback from key beauty retailers (Sephora and Ulta) the curve has remained constant based on basic observation of the evolution of the assortment ranging. Ulta for example, carries 53 brands of dry shampoo today, which has mostly grown due to brands they already carry adding a dry shampoo to the range. Sephora’s assortment at only 21 brands, (and only 5 in common with Ulta) is more carefully curated, and has grown by altogether new brand listings. Despite not carrying mass market brands, they cover a broader spectrum of brand positioning, including niche brands with growing appeal and popularity. (For example the cosmetics brand TARTE has just launched a dry shampoo as their first hair care product, and it is only available on their website and online at Sephora). Nevertheless, Sephora can’t cover everything, so for the very high end niche brands consumers need to explore Barneys NY or Anthropology.
What is clear is that what began in the drugstore segment as a convenient solution to go a day (or two) longer without washing your hair has become much more. Today, the new product features answer to a maximum of consumer concerns ranging from volume building to hair loss. There are an abundance of textures and scents to rouse the senses, and of features to address real needs. It has extended to all existing consumer segments of hair care, as well as the creation of new segments such as pricy, prestige, “all natural” product offers.
In sum, consumer needs and preferences can be just as complex and wide ranging as cosmetics, and the hair care industry has responded in kind with an abundance of new launches. It just doesn't seems like marketers have reacted in kind with the same zeal, and this unique product may need the same level of innovation in strategies to raise consumer awareness. .
How to approach shopping for a product when there is so much choice?
Start by identifying your hair type, scalp type, and the needs that go along with your hair styling, coloring habits, and ideal hair washing frequency. Fragrance is also an important factor, as well as a very personal choice and should be tested before purchased. Stay tuned for a summary on my personal top choices per segment (based on way too many field trips to the retailers I mentioned, and years of experimenting with solutions to my fine, thin, prone to oily hair).