Despite undesirable ship-to-weight ratios and low average order values, online sales of hair care and color products are growing. E-commerce is still the fastest growing channel for Hair Care sales, and its share of retail value has increased 14% year-on-year.
As evident by the average price of $10.53 for items ordered online, digital sales are overwhelmingly driven by lower-margin consumer brands. And L2’s 2016 Hair Care & Color study finds that consumer brands are embracing e-tailers more eagerly than their professional counterparts; 70% of consumer brands in the Hair Care Index officially distribute on Amazon. Meanwhile, professional brands continue to partners with retailers that cater to their category: Sleek Hair, Ulta, and JCPenney. Eighty-six percent of professional Hair Care brands distribute on Sleek Hair and 62% distribute on Ulta.
Many professional brands avoid mass retailers for fear of damaging their brand, but several mass and professional retailer hybrids offer high-end imagery, tutorials, and detailed product descriptions that make them safe options for brands. Furthermore, retailers with online and brick-and-mortar presences provide in-store salon services (Ulta, JCPenney) for a retail experience resembling to professional brands’ traditional distribution channels.