The market for shampoo and conditioners has grown 2.3 per cent in compound annual growth rate from 2001 - 2006, to reach a total of $4.1bn, according to a new report from market research. Although 60 per cent of those sales are still accounted for by shampoos, growth in the conditioner segment grew at more than twice the rate of that for shampoos during the period 2004 - 2006. Likewise, the Mintel report maintains that it will be conditioners that will continue to provide the potential for significant growth in the coming years. So what's driving this growth? The findings indicate that consumers are far more likely to choose a specific conditioner for their hair type than they would a shampoo. This, combined with the fact that the conditioning requirements of hair can change frequently, means that consumers can have several bottles of conditioners on the go at any given time. This trend is further underscored by the fact that conditioner is on average 25 cents a bottle more expensive than shampoo, lending still more weight to the sales figures. But alongside the spending patterns for conditioning products, the report highlights the fact that the microsegmentation of the market - stressed by a different product for every conceivable hair care need - has left consumers confused over what brand to choose. Mintel has found that in response to this confusion, consumers are increasingly opting for products with highly distinctive packaging, mainly because they stand out on the overcrowded store shelves. In particular, the report refers to L'Oreal's Garnier Fructis, which has lept into a top five position partly on the grounds that its distinctive bright green packaging stands out more than many other rival products. This brand has become very popular with females aged 12-24, one of the industry's key target markets in the shampoo and conditioner segment. The success of the Garnier Fructis launch has led to many imitations, designed to emulate the success of the product's branding and packaging. In turn, this has meant that almost all product launches made during 2006 having involved new packaging that uses bright or vibrant colors to stand out on the shelf. The report also includes interesting information about gaps in the market for men's shampoos and conditioners, as well as key data about the Hipanic and black segments, all of which will be included in a follow-up article, next week.