As hair products become a driver of growth in the prestige beauty industry, retailers compete to become the top spot for hair care purchases with aggressive search strategies. L2’s Digital IQ Index found that Target appears among the paid results for 90% of non-branded product searches, significantly surpassing Ulta. Ulta and Walmart appear on 50% and  45% of paid results for non-branded product search terms, respectively.

However, there is a big mismatch between how retailers are spending their resources and how consumers search. While retailers are bidding on product terms, the overwhelming majority of Hair Care-related Google searches are hairstyling terms. And while that share has shrunk by 4% since 2017, hair styling terms still account for 71% of hair care-related searches. Sephora appears to be the only major beauty retailer that bids on styling search terms.

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