Online Exclusive: Hair Care Packaging—Landscape in Asia Pacific

Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth in hair care packaging in 2011, posting a 7% increase in unit volumes.

by Regina Maiseviciute, Industry Analyst, Euromonitor International

Hair care products are considered commodities and thus the impact of the economic slowdown on this category has been minimal. In 2011, consumers globally spent almost US$74 billion on hair care products. In volume terms, shampoo is the biggest category, accounting for 2.2 billion litres in 2011, followed by conditioners and colorants.

Regina Maiseviciute, Euromonitor International.

A very wide variety of packaging formats can be found in this category. The HDPE bottle is one of the most mature packaging formats in hair care, accounting for 9.6 billion units in retail globally in 2011. However, the strong success of flexible plastic in small sizes in Asia Pacific moved this packaging type into the leading position in 2011, with almost 15 billion units sold.

Growth of larger pack sizes

Asia Pacific recorded the strongest growth in hair care packaging in 2011, posting a 7% increase in unit volumes. This was mainly driven by small-sized (5-25ml) flexible plastic packs used for shampoos and conditioners, which grew by 8% and 10%, respectively, in retail volume terms in 2011.

In India, smaller sizes of flexible plastic in shampoos were marketed mainly in rural areas, providing an affordable option for consumers with lower disposable incomes, while bigger HDPE bottles were targeted at urban consumers due to their stronger purchasing power and a more developed retail infrastructure.

The further development of retail and the move of beauty and personal care products into supermarkets and hypermarkets as well as the internet channel influenced both demand and the popularity of larger pack sizes in hair care in China. In shampoo, 501-750ml HDPE bottles were the most dynamic in 2011, growing by 5% in retail volume terms.

In 2011, consumers globally spent almost US$74 billion on hair care products.

Rising disposable incomes in the Philippines resulted in more beauty and personal care products being introduced in larger pack sizes. This trend was particularly visible in hair care. In 2011, the leading player Unilever launched Sunsilk in a 700ml HDPE bottle with a lotion pump, with a 200ml flexible plastic pouch as a refill option. However, flexible packaging still remained the most widely used packaging type in beauty and personal care products in the Philippines over the review period. In 2011, flexible packaging accounted for a 90% share of overall retail unit volumes thanks to single-serve sachets in hair care.

Taiwan appears to be the opposite of India and the Philippines in this respect. The growing offer of larger pack sizes as well as discounts and multipacks in hair care was the result of intense competition between retailers. It is worth noting that

multipacks are more popular than bulk packs as theTaiwanese see the storage and usage of bulk shampoo as inconvenient.

Pouches – eco-friendly refills

The issue of sustainability has also entered the beauty and personal care arena in various regions across the world. The natural trend continues to be very important for key players and is encouraging mainstream brands to launch products in this category.

Consumers in China and Japan have observed the launch of eco-friendly and user-friendly packaging in hair care over the last few years. In many cases in China these were plastic pouches, used as refills for regular brands. However, it is believed that plastic pouches are unlikely to pose a significant challenge to rigid plastic as consumers will only purchase a refill pack if they recognize the product.

In Japan, Shiseido is intending to use more eco- and user-friendly packaging materials, which it will market as part of the Shiseido Earth Care Project. This includes using plant-based bottles for Shiseido’s key hair care brand Super Mild. Shiseido launched its newly-packaged shampoo and conditioner in September 2011 and is now aiming to use plant-based bottles for 70% of its other brands by 2020.

Diversified future of hair care

Globally, hair care and hair care packaging are expected to maintain positive growth rates. Euromonitor International predicts that hair care packaging will grow at a CAGR of 4% over 2011-2016 in retail unit volume terms. Hair care packaging in Asia Pacific is expected to outperform global growth and reach a 5% CAGR over 2011-2016, with flexible plastic remaining in strong demand in shampoos. The convenience of single-serve sachets is expected to continue to play a very important role in consumer purchasing decisions.

At the same time, HDPE bottles, considered the main packaging format for shampoos, are expected to maintain a dynamic 5% CAGR over the forecast period. This will be down to the above-mentioned demand for bigger pack sizes as the economic situation of Asian consumers gradually improves. Manufacturers are also expected to increasingly take the sustainability path and consider launches of plant-based HDPE bottles, following in the footsteps of Procter & Gamble's Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion, which was initially launched in Western Europe in 2011.

About the author: Regina Maiseviciute is a Packaging Industry Analyst for Eastern and Central Europe at Euromonitor International. She joined the company in October 2006. In her current position, she monitors key industry trends and issues within the packaging industry on a year-round basis and is responsible for market analysis, highlighting key trends and developments, which provide detailed insight into corporate activity and the state of the packaging industry. Before joining Euromonitor International, Maiseviciute held key roles in the public opinion and market research company for more than five years Regina has a Master degree in Sociology from Vilnius University.