LATAM Hair Care Supplement

What’s happening in the Latin America hair care market? Part I

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

What’s happening in the Latin America hair care market? Part I
Hair care has always been the driving force in the Latin America beauty market, but as the category continues to evolve, the types of products available to consumers are changing, and fast.

Unlike other beauty markets, where skin care is the mainstay, in the Latin American hair care category is the biggest by value, reflecting the importance of hair in Latin American culture, as well as the fact that Latin hair types are often highly diverse, requiring a greater selection of consumer choice.

Latin American women also often want products that will ‘tame’ hair types that are frizzy or curly in an effort to make them easier to manage, giving rise to a bigger demand for conditioners, treatments and styling products.

In line with this, it seems that the microsegmentation that has consistently underpinned growth in more developed hair care markets, is now also becoming a defining factor in the Latin American market. In the first of a two-part series, Part I takes a look at the claims driving this trend, while in Part II we will take a look at the product launches that are tapping into this trend.

"There is an opportunity for brands to segment hair care in a similar way to skincare, in a bid to help women make sense of their hair type and know what the ideal regime is," ​said Andrew McDougall, global analyst for beauty at Mintel.

Hair wash

Moisturizing and damage repair claims

Cosmetics Design turned to market research experts at Mintel to find out more about what’s happening in the market right now, starting with all-important hair care products claims and what consumers are looking for.

In a survey conducted in February of this year by Mintel and research partner Lightspeed on women aged 16+ in Brazil, by far the largest and most important beauty market in the region, 55% of respondents said they are looking for hair care products that provide moisturization.

That same survey also showed that 43% of Brazilian women are also looking for products with claims to fix damaged hair, reflecting both harsher environmental factors, together with the popularity of hair styling trends such as straightening. 

Going beyond the most popular claims

But while moisturization and hair repair undoubtedly remain the most popular claims, the growing trend in the region for a more natural hair look is also leading to new areas of opportunity.

Although straightening remains popular, many women are embracing their naturally curly locks, which in turn is also giving way to demand for more specialized treatments.

The Mintel team of analysts refer to this as the ‘hair transition phase”, reflecting the fact that women shift from hair styles that have necessitated harsher chemical treatments, and now reverting back to a natural look which is often wavy or curly.

This has led to a big boom in new launch hair care products that treat or style naturally wavy or curly hair being launched in Brazil and in other countries throughout the Latin American region.

Premium products with ethical claims

The Latin American market also has a buoyant demand for premium and luxury hair care products, which the Mintel team believes has scope for further development in the coming years. 

At this end of the market ethical claims, particularly those that are connected to sustainability and saving the planet's precious resources, are likely to resonate with consumers, and specifically those that tap into a growing awareness for water conservation. 

"There is a space for premium products that help consumers save water, as a quarter of Brazilians from the higher socioeconomic groups would be willing to pay more for easy-rinse products that help them conserve water,"​ said Andrew.

"Premium brands could take advantage of this fact and develop products that are made with less water and that are also easier to use, in addition to using biodegradable packages. Likewise, products that make clear their commitment with the environment can attract these consumers."

Hair products

Scalp health, hair growth and Intensive care treatments

Beyond the product launches being inspired by natural look hair, Mintel and Lightspeed’s recent survey also reveals a spike in interest for products that treat a variety of other hair and scalp conditions.

The results showed that 54% of Brazilian women aged 16+ are concerned about scalp health, while, 32% said they are actively looking for products that encourage hair growth.

Interestingly, Mintel’s data reveals that in the 12 month period up to April 2018, only 10% of hair launches in Latin America contained any sort of hair scalp claims, suggesting significant room for opportunity.

Also reflecting growing concerns about hair and scalp health, the same survey found that 19% of those surveyed said they have either used or are interested in using products again that are designed as a treatment to be applied and take effect at night, as they slept.

"Most consumers agree that hair care is as important as skincare and they are now taking the time to use the right products for the right purpose,"​ said Andrew.

"However, many are still unsure how to diagnose what their hair needs. Particular trends include the gravitation towards the natural look, and to minimize damage; and also to care for the scalp as consumers become more informed that a healthy scalp leads to healthy hair."

To find out more about the type of hair care products that are being launched in the Latin American market to tap into all of these trends, please click here to see the follow-up article, 'What’s happening in the LATAM hair care market? Part II'.

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