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Study: Textured-Hair Consumers Outspend Straight-Haired Counterparts

Any brand or retailer who isn't making texture a priority when it comes to their hair-care strategy is missing a huge opportunity, according to Michelle Breyer, co-founder of TextureMedia.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: A model walks the runway for SheaMoisture at NaturallyCurly Presents Texture On The Runway powered by Sally Beauty on September 6, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NaturallyCurly)
Curly consumers spend heavily on products for their tresses. Here a model shows off her style as shown during NaturallyCurly’s Texture on the Runway event. Getty Images for NaturallyCurly

Retailers continue to bolster selections of products for consumers with textured hair. According to research from NaturallyCurly’s 2018 TextureTrends report, that strategy should continue to boost hair-care category transactions, especially in the mass market which dominates sales. The just-released report finds that curly consumers spend more each year on hair products than any other texture type — an average of $247 versus an average of $139 for naturally straight-hair consumers. The study finds that textured hair consumers are product junkies with more than half of them buying hair products at least once a month. More than one-third of curly and coily consumers purchase hair products at least twice a month.

The results suggest retailers continue to zero in on the textured-hair shopper, said Michelle Breyer, co-founder of TextureMedia. “From a pure economic perspective — her willingness to try new brands, her constant hunt for new products, the amount she’s willing to spend on individual products and her total annual spend — this consumer should be front and center. Any brand or retailer who isn’t making texture a priority when it comes to their hair-care strategy is missing the boat.”

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More than 80 percent of women with curly and coiled hair said they purchase products specifically for their textured hair, versus general market options. The demand is slightly less for those with looser locks, according to the report. Only 45 percent of those with wavy hair hunt for products specifically geared toward textured hair.

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There has been a race to market textured hair products, especially from independent brands looking to fill market gaps. Among the examples are Mielle, Curls and The Mane Choice. Additionally, general market brands, such at Head & Shoulders, TRESemmé and Pantene, are expanding their textured choices. There are retail reports that more than 300 new stockkeeping units are vying for footage in textured-hair sections. That said, Breyer noted that shelf space for curly textured hair sku’s still only accounts for roughly 20 percent or less of total hair-care shelf space at most retailers, a percentage that stayed static despite the proliferation of new brands.

Mass marketers are the most popular place to shop for the products, specialty stores like Sally Beauty rank second. While 51 percent of textured-hair consumers shop for their hair needs at beauty specialty stores, only 31 percent of those with naturally straight or relaxed hair shop at these stores.

Certain brands emerged in the study as attracting textured consumers, especially curly and coily shoppers, such as Shea Moisture and Cantu. Those with wavy, straight and relaxed hair trended toward Pantene, Suave and Garnier. Also, the study found that ease of application is a key purchase driver. Ingredients matter with this shopper, the study said, with these consumers seeking to avoid specific ingredients. The most sought-after ingredients are Argan oil and Shea butter, while sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate and isopropyl alcohol are the two ingredients consumers avoid in their products.

Sampling is a great way to entice texture consumers and is the number-one reason respondents purchased a new product, followed by its availability in the stores where they shop. Conditioners are a key category with consumers spending an average of $58 on the sector. Leave-in conditioners are used by more than 80 percent of women with these curl types. That compares to 36 percent of straight-haired consumers who use leave-in conditioners.

One psychographic finding from TextureTrends is that despite how the discussion of textured tresses has moved to the front burner, only 42 percent of women with curls, oils and waves think their hair is considered professional.

Developed by Naturally Curly in 2011, the annual TextureTrends consumer insights report incorporates surveys from roughly 2,000 textured-haired consumers segmented by wavy, curly and coily hair, as well as those with naturally straight and chemically relaxed hair.  In addition to product evaluation, the report includes five years of trending data and explores many areas of purchasing behavior and product usage — including awareness, spending, retail preferences and brand loyalty, as well as a psychographic examination of how women feel about their hair. Rather than looking at sales once they’re in a store, TextureTrends explores the consumer’s attitudes before she ever walks into a store to purchase a product.