By Chika Dunu
- Sales of wigs increased by 75% for the period May 2020 to 2021 as protective hairstyles continue to be on the rise
- Black shoppers spent $473M in total on hair care
For thousands of women, regular salon visits came to a screeching halt due to the 2020 pandemic, and the early days were a steep learning curve for those who found comfort sitting in their stylists’ chairs. Black women started to embrace the change and protective styles, as sales of wigs increased by 75% for the period May 2020 to 2021, compared to February 2019 to February 2020, according to a new report from Mastercard. As workers return to the office and more social events begin popping up on calendars, consumers are also looking to spend more on their hair, and now could be the time to expand Black-owned beauty supply stores.
Why This Matters: Despite all the change the pandemic brought to the Black hair care industry, women have embraced their natural hair opting for styles that don’t require much heat utilization. According to Mintel analyst Toya Mitchell, between 2015 and 2019, braids with extensions increased in popularity by 64%, wigs increased by 79%, and weaves increased by 47%.
Also, Black shoppers have contributed $473 million to a $4.2 billion hair care industry, yet the same industry hasn’t actively fostered ownership. Per a 2014 study by the Beauty Supply Institute, Black ownership in the supply store industry is a measly 3%.
Celebrity hair stylist Felicia Leatherwood told the LA Times Black women have been using the pandemic to truly discover their hair. “They have anxiety about what’s happening, and then they have anxiety about discovering their hair and working with it and realizing that they actually have not liked their hair, never really liked their texture, Leatherwood said.”
What’s Next: Creating more ownership for Black women in the hair care industry is a vital plus. Perhaps leaning into the Black-owned hair care challenge, created by Maggie Anderson, which called for consumers to spend their money supporting Black beauty supply stores and hair products could be a game changer for the industry and our community. “It would be wonderful. If in America, just like other groups own their culturally relevant products and industries, that the Black community can own the biggest Black hair care brands,” Anderson said.
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