Case Study

Turning Around the Decline in Hair Care Appliance Purchasing at Mass Retailers


A leading hair appliance manufacturer was observing a decline in purchases from mass retailers and wanted to understand what was driving the trend (so that they could plot a course to reverse it).

Together, C+R and the client agreed that a large-scale survey profiling the new hair care appliance consumer, including their purchase triggers, catalysts, attitudes and barriers would get the client the information they needed to take hold of the marketplace once again.


A Decline in Purchases, but No Idea Why

After years of industry growth, a leading hair appliance manufacturer began observing a decline in purchases from mass retailers. Concerned about the future, the company was eager to understand the downturn and start working on reversing it. The company had developed several hypotheses but needed a research team to test their assumptions.


Large Scale Survey Research to Test Hypotheses

C+R developed a quantitative online survey strategy to capture data about the hair care appliance consumer nationwide. More than 750 female participants who had purchased a hair care appliance in the past year were surveyed. We designed the sample to be demographically balanced and nationally representative.

The result

Data Over Speculation

C+R’s online survey quickly debunked several of the client’s initial hypotheses about why hair appliance purchases had declined and why the purchase cycle had extended. 

For example, the company had conjectured that women were visiting hair stylists more often for long-term style treatments. This suspected shift in behavior was thought to have decreased the need for at-home appliances. However, C+R’s research showed that consumers were actually using salon treatments less than in previous years. Instead, more consumers were choosing natural and heatless style trends, which required fewer styling tools. And, as consumers used appliances less often and device durability improved, the need for replacing devices over time had slowed.

The results also identified important differences between how consumers shop for hair appliances at mass vs. other retailers. Buying behavior varied greatly between these two hair appliance consumers on many factors, including:

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

Along with these insights, the final report included information on highly effective on- and off-premise strategies for hair care appliances in mass merchandise and other retailers to help the client increase consumer awareness, education, and purchases.

With in-depth consumer data at their fingertips, the appliance manufacturer was able to make informed decisions using consumer insights specifically, educating buyers on the current state of the market, developing a strategy to shorten the purchase cycle, and redirecting sales to mass retailers.

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