In collaboration with Unilever, which sells an incredible 38 billion hair care products annually in more than 70 countries, a panel of experts met recently to share their views at a CEW Business Event entitled “What’s next for hair?” Facilitated by Heather Mitchell, global head of PR & Social Media at Unilever Hair, the panel included Flynn Matthews, beauty industry analyst at Google; Jo Lee, vice president of merchandising UK at QVC; Cristel Lundqvist, global technical director at TIGI; Zahra Bishop, beauty buyer at Harvey Nichols, and leading session stylist Aaron Carlo.
From his data analysis, Google’s Flynn Matthews has found that UK consumers see hair care as hugely important and are more experimental than their US counterparts, with searches for pastel tones and vibrant styles ranking high on their online agendas. UK Men are also embracing hair care trends, following the lead of sports stars, celebrities and local influencers.
From a retailer point of view, hair care is booming. QVC, for instance, is selling more beauty products than ever before. Jo Lee says the company’s shoppers are hungry for products that tell a story and keep them engaged.
For Harvey Nichols, a personal shopping experience is key, and Zahra Bishop believes the store’s bespoke approach and its high levels of customer service are the reasons why shoppers spend substantial periods of time in store purchasing prestige hair care. Harvey Nichols already offers a bespoke mascara service and would like to do something similar in hair care.
The power of celebrity remains omnipresent when it comes to influencing hair styling, and consumers are still keen to replicate the styles of those in the media spotlight. Aaron Carlo predicts that 2016 will be the year of “experimentation and aspiration”, with people taking bigger risks with their hair, but wanting the end result to look effortless and undone.
The UK’s love affair with colourful hair is expected to evolve over the coming months, and Cristel Lundqvist predicts that this evolution will move towards customisation so that 2016 will be the year of bespoke hair colouring. Referencing “pixelated” hair and contouring, Cristel believes that our desire to feel unique and individual will mould the future for the country’s colour industry.