For every Beyonce Knowles, Michelle Obama and Miss Amer- ica 2010 Caressa Cameron, there is a Halle Berry, Alicia Keyes or Whoopi Goldberg—trendsetters that have embraced their
natural textures and influenced the ethnic hair care market.
Although accounting for a sizeable share of the $247. 7 million
ethnic personal care category, African American hair care sales
slipped 2% to $194.7 million for the year ended June 21, 2009 in supermarkets, drugstores and mass-market retailers excluding Walmart, according to Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), a Chicago,
IL-based market research firm.
This is puzzling to some, as there has been a steady stream of
new product introductions this past year and yet none have had
any major impact on category sales. Furthermore, due to the recession of the past year, more and more shoppers are eschewing
high-end outlets and looking at more affordable FDMx locations,
noted Mintel in an August 2009 report.
Nearly a quarter of African American women buy products
made specifically for black hair, which could mean an opportu-
nity for smaller companies that focus on ethnic products to
enter the market, according to Mintel. Almost three quarters of
African American women are on the lookout for new products,
which would seem to indicate some level of dissatisfaction with
the current roster of available SKUs.
According to Mintel’s survey results, Hispanic respondents
also buy black hair care products. Hispanics are increasingly targeted by mainstream marketers and, as the second-largest minority, their buying power is simply too big to ignore. In fact, the
University of Georgia’s Selig Center states in its Multicultural
Economy 2008 report that Hispanic buying power is $951 billion
or some $48 billion more than African American consumers. For
2009, Hispanic hair care sales remained stable at 0.34% to $5.4
million, as reported by IRI.
For some marketers, it may be advantageous to compete on a
larger scale and reach beyond any one ethnic demographic niche
by positioning products for everyone.
“In 2010, there is a strong trend to position beauty products
Making Will 2010’s product rollouts hake up ethnic hair care? Melissa Meisel • Associate Editor Waves