A new market research by Euromonitor International has revealed that in 2013, women in Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon alone spent a whopping $1.1 billion on their hair, Reuters reports. It also includes purchases on shampoos, relaxers and hair lotions.
–. L’Oréal South Africa led hair care with a value share of 28% in 2013, followed by Procter & Gamble, Unilever South Africa and Amka Products with value shares of 17%, and 14% each for the latter two. Each of the leading players holds extensive product portfolios, including heritage brands, and competes aggressively to maintain their positions.
With all the skill of a master weaver at a loom, Esther Ogble stands under a parasol in the sprawling Wuse market in Nigeria’s capital and spins synthetic fibre into women’s hair.
Nearby, three customers – one in a hijab – wait for a turn to spend several hours and $40 (£23.7) to have their hair done, a hefty sum in a country where many live on less than $2 a day.
While still largely based in the informal economy, the African haircare business has become a multi-billion dollar industry that stretches to China and India and has drawn global giants such as L’Oreal (OREP.PA) and Unilever (UNc.AS) (ULVR.L).
Hairdressers such as Ogble are a fixture of markets and taxi ranks across Africa, reflecting both the continent’s rising incomes and demand from hair-conscious women.
“I need to braid my hair so that I will look beautiful,” said 25-year-old Blessing James, wincing as Ogble combed and tugged at the back of her head before weaving in a plait that fell well past the shoulder.
While reliable Africa-wide figures are hard to come by, market research firm Euromonitor International estimates $1.1 billion of shampoos, relaxers and hair lotions were sold in South Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon alone last year.