US salon products showing signs of recovery

Professional hair product sales in June were 98% of the June YAG totals, according to the most recent findings from Kline PRO, Kline’s salon retail products and services database.

In fact, shampoos and conditioners were ahead of last year at + 6% and +12%, respectively. This is welcome news for an industry that had a nearly complete shutdown from mid-March through most of May. While it is not business as usual quite yet, the data are revealing the types of products and services that have the best performance compared to pre-COVID times. 

Hair care products that provide colour care benefits have always had the highest category share but saw a bump in the second quarter to 34.0% of the market, peaking in April at 43.7%. Since most salon doors were shuttered at this time, ordering online and curbside pickup from salons became a lifeline. Data shows that kits and multipacks of items for color care surged in this timeframe to 134% over YAG as stockpiling products became a reality.

Regional shifts in product sales are evident, as the operational status of salons was left to state governments. The Midwest region, consisting of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, fared the best of all five regions. Quarterly market share rose from 20.8% YAG to 25.2%. Midwestern salons posted a remarkable performance in June product sales with an increase of almost 26% over last June.

While salon product sales are important, the crux of salons’ survival rests with services. Services comprise 94% of all salon revenues. Concern has been high within the industry regarding what business will be like post-COVID. Will clients return? And if they do, will new regulations and procedures allow salons to operate at the same volume as before? The final answer remains to be seen, but early data shows that clients are willing to begin returning to their stylists in the salon, at least for certain services.

Services are not recovering at the same rate as products. Service revenues were essentially non-existent in April. PRO Pulse: U.S. Independent Salon Market Performance Index shows improvement each month of the quarter, culminating with an index for the quarter of 35.2 compared to Q2 2019. June, however, was very promising at an index of 75.7. 

“Services that are rebounding the best are those that are more high-tech and require the expertise of a professional stylist,” says Paula Gottdiner, Kline PRO Project Manager. “Personally, I had no hesitation in returning to my salon for a colour service when it re-opened. Evidently, I was not alone in doing so, as hair colouring revenues in June were up nearly 2% over a year ago.”

“Based on what we are seeing with Kline PRO, the salon industry is on track to recover,” says Gottdiner. “We are in the midst of processing the transactions from the third quarter and expect to publish the data in the next couple of months. It will be interesting to measure the recovery and be able to analyse both the product and service components of the industry.”

Kline PRO is a comprehensive interactive database that enables users to access the latest performance data on the professional hair care industry in the United States. Robust data and insights on Canada are also planned to roll out in 2021. Based on actual salon transactions from a panel of thousands of salons, it yields category, brand, and product-level sales and service data on a quarterly basis.