As US Black consumers continue to embrace the natural hair movement, its impact is greatly shaping the US Black hair care market. New research from Mintel reveals that sales of styling products have increased 26.8 per cent from 2013 to estimated 2015, reaching $946 million, now comprising 35 per cent of Black hair care sales, a significant increase from the 16 per cent it represents in the total hair care market.
Over half (51 per cent) of Black consumers report using styling products compared to one third (34 per cent) of consumers overall, with demand for these products showing no signs of slowing in the coming years as sales are projected to reach $1.4 billion by 2020.
The shampoo segment also showed market gains of 18.3 per cent from 2013-2015 while sales of conditioners increased by 9.8 per cent over the same span
The move to natural has negatively affected sales of relaxers, which dropped 18.6 per cent from 2013-2015. Furthermore, the segment is projected to lose its spot as the second-largest in the Black hair care market - which also includes shampoo, conditioner and home hair colour - to the smallest segment of the market by 2020. Sales of the overall Black hair care market in 2015 are an estimated US$2.7 billion. 
“The Black haircare industry has undergone quite a transformation over the past five years and that should continue heading into the next decade. As more and more Black consumers are embracing their natural self and walking away from relaxers, it is presenting opportunities for natural brands to enter the market. Our research indicates that wearing their natural hair makes Black women feel liberated, confident and different from others, giving them a tremendous sense of pride in being Black while displaying their natural beauty,” said Tonya Roberts, Multicultural Analyst at Mintel.
Mintel’s research shows that the natural hair movement comes at a time when image is everything to Blacks, as half (49 per cent) of Black consumers agree it’s important to always look their best, regardless of the circumstances. Another 38 per cent agree that they do whatever they can to look as attractive as possible. Furthermore, 27 per cent of Black consumers agree that they like to experiment with different hair and fashion styles, and 50 per cent agree their hair is an important part of their identity.
However, in the wake of both market and consumer shifts toward natural hair, the weave, extension and wig segment remains popular. In 2014, Mintel found that 44 per cent of Black women reported having a weave, wig or extensions in the previous 12 months with 38 per cent saying they planned to have them in the upcoming 12 months.
What’s more, three in five (63 per cent) Black women purchased wigs, weaves, extensions or styling tools from local independent beauty supply stores in the last six months, averaging an annual spend of $239, with 10 percent of Black women spending over $250 annually. Further suggesting weaves, wigs and extensions are here to stay, 81 percent of Black women prefer an effective, no-fuss beauty/grooming routine, and 84 percent prefer hairstyles that are simple and easy to do themselves.