- Ninety-six percent of hair care and color brands reported having mobile-optimized sites, up from 87% last year, according to a study by digital benchmarking firm L2. The fifth annual "Digital IQ Index Report: Hair Care & Color 2017" found that both big and independent brands in the space are turning to such digital strategies to adjust to consumers' evolving shopping habits and search behaviors.
- The report also identified a slight shift in search strategies with only 40% of Google hair care searches specifying a brand, down from 44% last year. Instead of searching for specific brands, consumers are searching for products tailored to their needs including hair type, gender, ethnicity and product ingredients. Searches for tea tree, coconut milk and keratin represented 100%, 67% and 54% of Google search volume, respectively, in June 2017.
- Distribution of hair care brands is changing as Ulta dominates online shopping for salon brands at 58%. Target leads consumer brands at 80%, but the line between salon and consumer brands blurs on Amazon with 28% of salon brands and 58% of consumer brands distributing on the e-commerce giant, per the report.
While major industry players like L'Oréal and Garnier earned top spots in L2's index as they continue to prioritize digital in their marketing strategy, independent brands are challenging heritage brands by earning market share and consumer loyalty through a mobile-first approach, as well as by exploring new growth channels, innovative social media strategies and unique partnerships with influencers and retailers rather than trying to outspend more established competition.
The success of beauty and hair care brands is also fueled by efforts to seek out customers beyond the confines of brick-and-mortar. Millennials are the heaviest buyers of these types of beauty and hair care products and are generally engaged with smartphones, which signals that marketers would be remiss to overlook the importance of creating a seamless mobile shopping and purchasing experience.
As a sector, hair care and the broader beauty category are unique for marketers because they tend to bridge online and in-store experiences for consumer products that have a certain level of necessity and luxury. Cosmetics and hair care marketers are seeing major upheaval, partially due to the sweeping success of stores like Ulta and Sephora, which often times use digital tools and face scans to match skin tones to products.
Other brands like Estée Lauder and Meitu recently launched virtual makeup apps for mobile devices, so it's not a stretch to expect that most hair care and cosmetics brands will begin to heavily beef up their mobile capabilities to help consumers browse online.