Women loyal to hair color brand, shampoo picks vary

Women loyal to hair color brand, shampoo picks vary – Consumer Brands Preference Study

Women loyal to hair color brand, shampoo picks vary

Female drug store consumers polled in six major U.S. markets told Drug Store News about varying degrees of brand loyalty to the shampoos, hair coloring products and hair styling aids they use.

The strongest brand loyalty was expressed by hair color users: 93 percent of the sample said they would not buy another brand if their regular hair color brand was out of stock.

Women entering middle age are fueling the growth of the hair coloring segment in drug stores. Survey results reveal only 6 percent of the total respondents mentioned price as a factor of their favorite brand. Rather, 68 percent of the total sample looked to the brand’s product attributes.

Coloring favorites

Consumers chose Clairol as their favorite brand, followed by L’Oreal. Store managers mirrored consumers’ hair color brand preferences in these selected markets. Among brand attributes, 20 percent of the total consumer sample said they chose their favorite brand because they liked its hair color shade and the packaging.

As the leading hair color brand, Clairol has built its image by spending over $100 million each year on promotions, advertising efforts and educational programs.

With the installation of Clairol’s Shade Selector Computer in certain retail outlets, women can enter basic information and get a personalized brand and shade “prescription” to meet individual needs. This computerized aid to shoppers helps Clairol reinforce its category leadership.

However, Drug Store News reported that L’Oreal’s Preference is growing at a stronger rate this year than last. Hair care buyers attributed this to the company’s increased advertising of this product, suggesting women “are worth it.” Carsons Products’ Dark & Lovely rounded out the top three hair color products. Dark & Lovely is popular with blacks and Hispanics who want darker, richer hues for the 1990s.

Hair styling aids

Seventy percent of the consumer respondents are loyal to their favorite brand of hair styling aid/gel. In drug stores, hair sprays are surging again, while growth rates for gels and spritzes are starting to slow as these segments stabilize in sales. Mousse sales are still flat, but alcohol-free formulations and extra-holding mousse formulations are doing better than the category as a whole.

This year consumers chose Clairol condition* as their favorite brand, followed by Aqua Net, Final Net and L’Oreal.

In comparison, store managers ranked L’Oreal as the top hair-styling aid brand, followed by Clairol condition* and Aqua Net.

This year’s trend was to softer, less sculpted hair styles — those that have more volume and add body — and and most of the top brands have recently introduced extensions to their lines to capitalize on this look.

For example, Clairol recently introduced a Maximum Hold SKU to its condition* gel. Faberge introduced four new formulas to its Aqua Net Hair Spray line in the third quarter of 1989, preceded in the second quarter by the introduction of Extra Super Hold, Unscented, Super Hold, and Pro-Spritz Aqua Net. L’Oreal Free Hold was repackaged in the third quarter of 1989 and included a new applicator that spreads the product evenly without stiffness or stickiness. An extra volume formula was also introduced.


Shampoo buyers were the least brand loyal in the hair care segment of the survey. Only 61 percent are brand loyal to their favorite shampoo brand, which, in descending order, were Suave by Helene Curtis, Head & Shoulders and Pert, both by Procter & Gamble.

Among regular brand buyers, 26 percent said they buy a regular shampoo brand because they’ve had good past experience with it and it’s a brand they trust.

Because of the vast number of SKUs in this segment, 19 percent of the sample indicated a smattering of other shampoo brands as their favorite. In fact, based on Drug Store News’ research of new shampoo launches, more than 20 new shampoo products and line extensions of established brands were introduced to the drug trade during the third and fourth quarters of 1989.

Another 23 percent of those polled said they don’t have a regular brand. These “shifters” mentioned the lowest-priced brand and sale-priced shampoos as a major purchasing factor.

Price difference

Interestingly, consumers chose lower- to moderately- priced lines as their favorite brands, while store managers included premium-priced prestige brands such as Finesse and Pantene.

The brands consumers chose, however, are heavily advertised, and one, Head & Shoulders, has a distinctive marketing niche and is the leader in its category. Procter & Gamble recently introduced Head & Shoulders Dry Scalp formula, and will widen that niche, as this shampoo is the only product positioned to treat dry scalp.

Finesse and Pantene are part of the premium segment of the shampoo category that is currently enjoying a growth surge in drug stores. Women today are willing to pay for quality in their hair products, and a vast majority of them perceive the quality of this premium segment consistent with professional salon brands.

Category growth

The growth in the shampoo category is attributed to the professional salon brands, the premium lines and the budget lines. With the constant proliferation of new products across these segments, retailers are constantly eliminating slow-movers while expanding their shampoo sections to make room for new products.

Even though the amount of space retailers devote to the shampoo segment varies, Nielsen figures report that in 1989 chain drug stores on average devoted 67 linear feet to shampoo, while high-volume independents (those with an annual sales volume of $500,000 or more) gave 27 linear feet to the department. Chain stores increased this space by four feet from last year, while independents this year decreased shampoo space by three feet.

COPYRIGHT 1989 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

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