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Saudi Arabian Beauty Market

The Professional Hair Care Market Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian professional haircare market is outperforming the sector, with its impressive growth rates

A still conservative market it is fast becoming more demanding in terms of quality, standards and products

Saudi salons and their clients, restricted by regulations, are highly innovative in their use of client referrals and social networking sites to promote their business or communicate.

The Saudi hair salon market now worth billions of Riyals - exploded over the last decade with salons registering double digit growth rates annually. Consumer spending benefited from the strong performance of the Saudi Arabian economy which is the largest in the Middle East. Women of all ages are spending more on their personal appearance. Saudi women are entering the workforce in ever larger numbers while, even more crucially, girls are continuing at second-level and going on to third-level education. Salons in Jeddah and Riyadh report that university students and graduates now account for the largest consumer segment, second only to working women.

There is a very strict dress code for women in the kingdom. But, despite, or perhaps because of, those restrictions, women transforming their appearance is driving salon business in Saudi Arabia as it does elsewhere. Stylists note that their clients can change their look with a new and more modern hair color and style up to four times a year. This desire for a new image peaks seasonally (eg, Islamic Eid festivities) or marks life-changing events such as starting college. As in most countries, haircolouring the most cost and time effective transformation - accounts for just under 50% of salons' revenues.

Unusually for the salon sector, hairsalons in Saudi Arabia actually register as dress making businesses because no women's hair salon category as such exists for licensing purposes. The relatively small number of official salons is, in reality, dwarfed by the many unregistered or hidden salons actually doing business across the country. It can be difficult for women to get to salons - as they cannot drive or travel alone in Saudi Arabia - so many freelance hairdressers and casual stylists fill that market niche.

Different interpretations of the laws governing the taking of photographs or displaying images of women make it more challenging for hair or beauty care services and products to be promoted. Salons cannot have street windows or use images of women as promotional tools to the public. Therefore, mega salons showcase (inside the salon) photos of their foreign staff with their coloured or styled hair as tangible proof of the quality haircare services offered. New media which allows for direct promotion and communication between salons and their clients plays a crucial role in the salon market. Social networking sites which cover topics such as make up and hair care and other issues can attract over a million Saudi women. Client referrals are also an effective marketing tool for Saudi Arabian salons.

The Saudi Arabian market is conservative and this is reflected in the relatively restricted range of brands and products used in salons. Stylists maintain that their clients are unwilling to take risks with new products. Brand-wise, it is a two horse race between L'Oreal and Wella. However, launches of new salon brands are doing well so the top brands' dominance of the Saudi Arabian professional channel will be challenged.

Looking ahead, all haircare experts consulted by Diagonal Reports are confident that strong growth will continue in the Saudi market. The number of women in paid employment will increase from its current low of 6% of the workforce. Saudi Arabian women's increased exposure via the internet and media to beauty trends outside of the KSA is making them more sophisticated and demanding as consumers. They now want more than the local fashions and standards.

This new research determines the value of the Saudi Arabian professional haircare market in (SAR) Riyals. It segments salons operating in Saudi Arabia by categories of mega salons, medium, small and the home hairdresser categories. It identifies the companies and brands used in salons. It also determines the value of the main hairsalon service categories of colouring, straightening and styling. The research also explains how salons market to their clients given the restrictions on salons, use of women's images and movements.

Findings are based on in-depth discussions conducted in Arabic with salon experts across Saudi Arabia (including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam/Al-Khobar and Abha)
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