A double-digit decline is definitely not a good way to kick off a new year. The Kline PRO database, which is based on actual salon transactions, shows that retail product sales to clients in the first quarter of 2017 are down by nearly 13% over the first quarter of last year. For those that were hoping to shake off 2016’s 5% overall slide, it could be a long year.
Why is this happening, and what can be done to turn it around? The landscape of the professional salon industry has changed in recent years. Competition for sales is fierce and coming from all sides: big chain salons, beauty super stores, diverted product retailers, and the Internet.
Research for Kline’s Salon Hair Care Global Series report indicates that, in addition to increased competition, other factors contributed to the sizeable first quarter decline. The uncertainty about jobs, healthcare, and immigration policies, among other issues, weighed heavily on consumers’ minds, as they bunkered down to conserve funds.
The rise of salon suites is also a factor suppressing the growth of take-home sales as most suite owners do not stock inventory due to cost and lack of space, which leaves the suite consumer to seek out products from other venues. Knowing the reasons for the declines through Kline’s extensive offerings in the salon hair care space helps product companies keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the marketplace in order to anticipate rather than react to situations.
Kline’s Salon Hair Care Global Series report further indicates that independent salons sought out new and growing brands from entrepreneurial owners as a point of difference that have limited distribution, refrain from being sold in salon chains and beauty superstores, and are free from discounting and diversion. This bodes well for brands like Amika, Davines, Kevin.Murphy, Malibu C, and Verb, among others, that offer innovative products in a very controlled environment. Kline PRO’s sales data supports this theory as these specific brands not only had sales increases in Full Year 2016, but are sustaining the growth into 2017.
Regardless of the specific brands that are used, the primary way to turn things around is to get clients through the door and into stylists’ chairs. During this time, clients can be educated about and actually shown the features and benefits of specific products and learn why it is important to buy professional products from a licensed salon. It is the only way to guarantee the performance, safety, and integrity of products. From there, it is important to stock brands that are high quality, innovative, and that support current trends.
The flexibility of the Kline PRO database allows for analysis at so many different levels: from as high as an overall category to specific hair concerns to bestselling products. A number of new items have appeared this year from both established brands and independents. For an overview of the new hair items with the highest sales, please request your free copy of Best-selling New Hair Items by Category covering the first quarter of 2017.
Written by Paula Gottdiner, Project Manager, Kline Consumer Products