Most Asian markets, especially the biggest ones, such as China and Japan, are extremely challenging for global salon hair care players. Here are the top three main reasons why:
- Strong foothold of local players – The advantages they have over international brands, such as the image of being “more suitable for Asian hair,” coupled with strong distribution and education structure, results in many loyal customers. Leading companies, such as Milbon in Japan or Shanghai Shobrunn in China, continue to have a very much “hands-on” approach to their home markets with active sales representatives, a continuous pipeline of new launches, and a strong focus on education.
- Highly fragmented – Many of the Asian markets have hundreds of companies competing in this industry, which makes it difficult for any brand to gain considerable market share.
- Slower pace of three key Asian markets – Japan, China, and South Korea makes sales gains even more difficult. China, growing healthily in the past, shows a decline in sales in 2015 and a slight recovery in 2016. Japan continues to show minor progress and growth, while South Korea is not as important as in the past due to 2016 political scandals.
Estimated at over $3.5 billion in 2016, the salon hair care market in Asia does represent many untapped opportunities. Smaller Asian markets, such as India or Indonesia, show important growth and are more welcoming to international brands and product novelties. Giant markets like China and Japan also represent pockets of opportunities due to their considerable size. Recently, Coty, with its Wella brand, has shown that important expansion in those challenging markets and a double-digit increase in sales is possible with the right strategy to approach the market.
Distribution seems to be the key to success for big Asian markets, while the growth is highest in smaller, emerging markets. The 2017 edition of our upcoming Salon Hair Care Global Series will cover both in detail, dedicating an entire new volume to the distribution channels in key Asian countries to uncover their structure, key distributors, salon segmentation, and recent developments in e-commerce and their role in the overall salon hair care industry. The series is comprised of 18 in-depth country reports, out of which eight are Asian countries, a world overview, and a powerful database with advanced data view from various angles. To learn more about the report, please see the brochure HERE.