Africa View

Heads up! Africa’s billion dollar hair care industry

CNN  — 

Looking good is big business in Africa; reports show that the amount of money being spent on haircare across the continent is rising.

The biggest growth in 2014 was in Nigeria where people spent more than $440 million, the sales of conditioners and relaxers rose 11% since 2013.

Similarly, in South Africa the amount of money spent on haircare increased 7% from 2013 to 2014, and in Kenya consumers spent more than $100 million on haircare, and salon sales were up 8%.

Nigeria leads the way

As the younger population grows in Nigeria, sales of hair care products increase, and are considered to be more essential than many other grooming products.

The rise in usage of the internet and cable TV has influenced many consumers’ thorough the use international celebrities in advertising.

There has also been a rise in demand for men’s products from men in urban areas.

L’Oréal Nigeria lead the market in 2014, the company owns firm favorite Dark & Lovely which is the leading haircare brand in the country.

“There is a wide range of products available in the traditional markets,” says the founder of lifestyle blog, Natural Nigerian. “They are mostly cheap and very few of them are made in Nigeria – most are imported.

“The move towards natural hair has raised a lot of questions and inspired a lot of handmade, better quality, mid to high level products that utilize indigenous ingredients that were overlooked in the past e.g. shea butter, coconut oil, and even our local black soap.”

In the next few years Euromonitor predicts that growth will continue due to urbanization and a swelling middle class. A focus on modern hairstyles that require lots of hair products is a key driver of growth, as fewer people maintain more traditional styles do no require as many products.

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Africans spending billions a year on haircare products
00:56 - Source: CNN

What’s driving sales?

In Kenya top haircare manufacturers are using imagery of black women with long straight hair in their advertising to drive sales, aiming to encourage the perception that straight hair is easier to manage and more attractive.

The haircare industry in Kenya is growing for a number of reasons; Kenya’s middle class gaining more disposable income, quality of products is increasing, and there are growing numbers of professional hair care salons.

Products that claim to solve specific hair concerns such as dry hair, thin hair and discoloration are doing well in South Africa.

African American celebrities have driven demand for products that make hair easier to manage in Cameroon. The increase in working women’s authority over their money has made it easier to buy these products, another driving factor is exposure to western culture through magazines and TV.

In 2014 the haircare industry in Algeria grew by 8%, which can be out down to the country’s improved economic conditions.

A growing number of Tunisians have started using styling agents and colorants in the past few years. Hair sales have increased as the economic downturn has caused people to stop visiting salons and start caring for their hair at home.

Who are the leading brands?

In 2014 leading haircare brands in Kenya included HACO Tiger Brands, L’Oréal East African and PZ Cussons East Africa.

Unilever continues to lead in Cameroon with Soft Sheen Carson Inc close behind.

L’Oréal South Africa continue to lead in this country, followed by Proctor & Gamble, Amka Products and Unilever South Africa.

Foreign companies dominate the market in Algeria, the leading company is L’Oreal Groupe, followed by Unilever Algeria SPA, Proctor and Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Laboratoire Venus Sapeco – the only domestic company.

The leading haircare company in Tunisia was Henkel-Alki, it’s strong brands such as Taft, Gliss and Souplesse mean it is likely to continue to be successful in this country.

Euromonitor International suggest that leading brands such as Henkel and Unilever are likely to start offering more products designed especially for men and products that multitask as the demand for value products increases.