The surge in sales of in-home hair-coloring products has spawned a new generation of color-protective shampoos and conditioners with higher price points than regular hair washes.
Since the last quarter of 1998, a slew of new shampoos and conditioners related to hair color have debuted, including Pantene Pro-V Color from Procter & Gamble, Color Shield from Helene Curtis (Unilever), Color Stay shampoos/conditioners from Revlon, and Sheer Blonde from John Frieda.
"It typically used to be the slowest selling of the shampoo line," said Al Jones, vice president for category management at Imperial Distributors, Auburn, Mass. "Now it is having a resurgence and the products are proliferating."
Jones said he believes that "it was the success of Color Vive by L'Oreal that stimulated the development of new shampoo and conditioner lines. It is the L'Oreal name, a name with a large percentage of items in the color market, that has encouraged other companies to bring out new products."
For suppliers as well as retailers, the growth also has been encouraged by new consumer attitudes about hair color -- it's not just for covering up the gray.
"Consumers today view hair color as a fashion accessory," said Carol J. Hamilton, senior vice president of marketing for the retail division at L'Oreal, New York. Hamilton noted that a new, younger group of women are changing their hair color and doing it more frequently. They are also attending to their hair after it is treated with products created especially for color-treated hair. Hamilton, retailers and consultants also agree that women simply want to increase the time between colorings.
But for most companies, the expansion in the shampoo and conditioner color segment is directly related to the growing hair-coloring trend and the need to preserve the color. "Sales of hair-color kits are better than ever and growth is expected to continue," said Robin Rodgers, category manager for Supervalu's Northern region, Hopkins, Minn. "So it makes sense that more and more women will be purchasing shampoos and conditioners to preserve the color."
"These color-related shampoos and conditioners attract busy women who have the income but lack the time to go to the salon," said Burt Flickinger 3rd, managing director of Reach Marketing, Westport, Conn. "They will spend a lot of money on shampoos and conditioners that do the job of preserving hair color rather than visit the salon. Hair coloring created a tremendous market."
Sam Richardson, health and beauty care director at Harps Food Stores, Springdale, Ark., agreed. "It's a real convenience item," he said. "They don't have to run back to the hair salon as often."
Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble introduced Pantene Pro-V Color in June -- a five-product system designed to help keep hair color from fading and to protect against damage caused by washing, sun and environmental exposure, which the company notes occurs within days from a visit to a salon. The suggested retail prices are $4.49 for 13-ounce bottles, about $1 higher than traditional Pantene Pro-V. "We're priced 15% to 20% higher on a per ounce," Tarang Amin, marketing director for P&G hair care worldwide, told Women's Wear Daily in an interview earlier this year. "What we used to have was a strong economy business in shampoo that has been replaced by premium brands," he stated.
Last year Revlon brought out Revlon Colorstay Haircare, including three "shade-specific" shampoos and conditioners for blonde, brunette and red shades. Suggested retail prices are $3.99 for the shampoos and conditioners packaged in 10-ounce bottles.
Helene Curtis introduced a new line of Salon Selectives Color Shield shampoos and conditioners: Color Shield Level 3 Revitalizing Shampoo to reduce color wash-out; Color Shield Type P Protective conditioner to prevent color fade from environmental factors including sun rays; and Color Shield Type D Leave-In Conditioner for extra conditioning. Suggested retail for each is $2.49.
Earlier, Clairol's Herbal Essences introduced a collection of shampoos and conditioners made from herbs, botanicals and other plant-derived ingredients. In 1997, Clairol, owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb, introduced its Daily Defense line of shampoos and conditioners, including Defense 3 for color treated/permed hair. Redmond Products, which is also owned by Bristol-Myers Squibb, introduced Aussie ColorMate shampoo last year.
Retailers are finding room on their shelves for these new color-protective items. "We've expanded our hair coloring from 8 to 12 feet," said Ralph Blanchard, nonfood supervisor at Macey's Food & Drug, Salt Lake City. "And related shampoos and conditioners have picked up also."
Hair-coloring sales grew 13% in food, mass and drug stores in the year ended July 18, 1999, to $1.2 billion, according to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. Total multi-outlet shampoo sales grew 5.1% during that period and represent $1.7 billion. Mass continues to lead with sales of $714 million, a gain of 6.7%. But food stores were not far behind, increasing 4.2% to $657 million. Drug stores came in third with $323 million and a gain of only 0.3%.
According to a study by Unilever, almost half of all women (48%) color their hair compared with 31% 10 years ago. And teens make up the fastest growing hair-coloring segment, with 42% of teens coloring their hair as compared with only 13% four years ago.
The study also notes that blonde is tops with more than half of women with color-treated hair and the majority is in the 16- to 34-year-old category. Most retailers indicated that blonde hair colorings sold best. "It's always a large market for the blondes," stated Blanchard.
One company, John Frieda, last November introduced Sheer Blonde, a line of hair care products including shampoos and conditioners "for blondes only."
"We are positioned to address the specific needs of blondes, to protect that asset," said Ann Bell, senior vice president of marketing for John Frieda Professional Hair Care, Wilton, Conn. "Most blondes want to be as blonde as possible." She noted that consumer demand "exceeded all expectations. We projected that sales would be in the $8 million to $10 million area, but we are doing from $26 to $30 million."
Hair care buyers generally indicated that sales of Sheer Blonde have been strong since its introduction. One retailer who chose to remain anonymous noted that the popularity of blonde hair coloring "made a shampoo geared to blonde women a natural next step."
But, she added, "these products still have to be merchandised well, not rely only on their name or the nature of the product. Sheer Blonde did receive a lot of support in magazines and its word-of-mouth business was very strong."