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Imagine that one of your primary product lines steadily sees a sales decline. Where you used to rely on quarterly growth, you now see sales fall in a trending fashion. You are only able to make guesses about how and why this shift in consumer behavior is happening and need to understand the changing marketplace. 

One hair appliance company found themselves in this position as behavior in women’s hair care changed. They were keenly aware that sales of all their product lines had been impacted but were not sure why.  They knew that they needed a refreshed and complete understanding of the hair care appliance consumer to fully grasp and take hold of the marketplace again.

Problem

After years of growth, a major hair care appliance company is seeing a steady decline in sales at mass merchandisers and other retailers. 

Women’s hair care appliance consumption has changed. That was a fact, but the company needed to know exactly why and how this had occurred in order to better serve future retail customers. The company had developed several hypotheses about hair care behavior trends that could be affecting appliance purchase and usage. The hypotheses needed to be tested by a qualified research team.

In addition, the company’s understanding of the hair appliance purchase cycle, hair care trends, and consumer expectations for appliances needed to be updated. The company wanted to uncover the attributes that are important within the hair care appliance category for consumers at mass merchandisers and other retailers.

The goal of the project was to fully profile the new hair care appliance consumer, including their purchase triggers, catalysts, attitudes and barriers. The insights gathered would help the hair care appliance company plan the correct course of action to stay relevant in the lives of their users.

Result

The C+R Research team debunked several of the hypotheses the hair care appliance company developed about why hair appliance purchases had declined and why the purchase cycle of consumers had extended. 

The company suspected that women were visiting their hair stylists more for long-term style treatments. This suspected shift in behavior was thought to have decreased the need for at-home appliance usage. We discovered that consumers are not choosing to use the services of hair stylists more for long-term treatment solutions. Data actually showed that consumers were using salon treatments less than they had in previous years.

Research did not only debunk these suspected hypotheses, it uncovered data about the marketplace and demonstrated several explanations why consumers are using and purchasing appliances less than they once did. One finding is that the use of styling tools is not required as more users choose natural and heatless style trends for their hair. 

This discovery also informed retention and repurchasing trends of the consumers. As consumers use appliances less often and these devices have become more durable, the need for replacing them over time has slowed. The buying cycle was mapped for each appliance: hair dryers vs. flat irons vs. curling irons etc...

The hair care appliance company also received insights specific to the consumers of mass merchandise retailers vs. other retailers. Buying behavior varied greatly between these two hair appliance consumers on many factors:

  • The importance of brand recognition,
  • Pre-shopping research conducted,
  • The value of reviews and word of mouth

C+R researchers provided critical information on highly effective on and off-premise strategies for hair care appliances in mass merchandise and other retailers to increase consumer awareness, education, and purchases. The client also received deep insights about the in-home, day-to-day usage trends of hair care appliances for consumers by product type.

The hair care appliance company was able to use this gathered data to build future marketplace plans and refresh their profile of hair care appliance consumers. The research served in helping the hair care appliance executives make informed, data-driven and strategic decisions, based on real findings rather than speculative hypotheses and theories that ultimately proved false. 

Solution

A quantitative online survey strategy captured data about the hair care appliance consumer nationwide.

The approach included a large online survey developed by our research experts. More than 750 female participants who had purchased a hair care appliance in the past year were surveyed. this study was designed to be demographically balanced and nationally representative.

Our researchers used advanced analytics to extract actionable insights for the company. The results have helped the brand understand more about changing consumer behaviors and attitudes in the market. They have avoided making costly mistakes, based on incomplete information and they are now able to move forward with data-driven strategic planning for the future.