Team natural must be making a difference. A report out of Chicago says that sales of all relaxers have dropped off about 26% in the last five years – the only area of Black hair sales not to see an increase.
Marketing film Mintel reports that sales of “creamy crack” as users like to call it is only 21% of the overall sales in Black hair products anyway. But after a high of $179 million in sales in 2008, sales are on the downward trend. In fact, research shows that in the last year, Black women have self-reported that over 70% are now wearing their hair “natural” with no chemical processing, over 50% of Black women have worn braids at some point, and over 40% have worn locks.
The natural hair trend is driving an increase in sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, setting lotions, curl creams, pomades, etc., but the increase has caused the relaxer segment to decline in sales,” says Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. “A look at expenditures from 2008-2013 shows steady growth in the Black haircare category for all categories except relaxers/perms.”
But its not all bad news for the hair industry. Black women say they don’t mind spending money to make their hair look good, with over 51% saying they have no problem spending top dollar on hair products. As 48% say they view natural hair styles as ones that show confidence, what has been viewed as a trend may now be settling into the mainstream.
Shampoo, conditioner, styling products and hair color specifically formulated for Black hair have seen increases in millions of dollars, says Roberts. Those products account for over $400 million of the billion dollar beauty industry.
“Given their passion and love of hair, Black consumers represent a lucrative market for companies. Black consumers are always looking for new products to try and seeking information about haircare products,” says Roberts. “Social networking is one avenue that has helped to garner trust, empowerment, individuality, and pride as it relates to haircare. Brands have been born and re-born using social networks.”