Diagonal Reports' Global Salon Panel (1998) interviewed experts representing 57 million salon visits in 12 countries. The survey reviewed hair trends, evaluated changes in demand for services and products, and tracked company performance.

Here are some trends in East Asia: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea...

Hair care trends in East Asia
In East Asia demand for hair care services and products remains stable, despite the economic downturn. In some markets spending even increased. In the rapidly developing markets in Taiwan and Singapore, acutely fashion- and image-conscious young people -both female and male - fuelled demand. In South Korea, where overall demand in salons was down, the colour category registered double digit growth.
Sales of colourants are high everywhere. In Singapore, a 1998 street survey showed the more than half the population colour their hair. Demand for colour is almost entirely fashion driven. Compared to the West, grey coverers are a less important consumer segment and men are more important. With some 70% of all colourant users dyeing their hair darker or the same shade as their natural colour, black and brown are the leading shades. As in the West colour choice is usually age-related. Older people prefer more natural colours, fashionable young people like reds (auburn and mahogany tones), and trendy youth like to make a dramatic impact with blue, green, yellow and orange.

Demand for perms is much higher than in the West. High usage rates are due to people with naturally straight hair wanting "to do something different." In South Korea young women so value a tidy, groomed hair style that many get a straight perm to straighten their already straight hair. However, all over East Asia demand for perms is falling due to the fashion for straight hair and concern about chemicals. As in other markets when consumers feel they must choose, perming is dropped in favour of colouring. Further, perm styles are changing as consumers catch up with Western and Japanese fashions. A slight or partial wave is replacing the once popular "big head of curls."

Strong demand for hair care is set to continue as the large population of youthful consumers age and mature. Further, the high and intensive usage of hair care services and products - combined with the hot, humid climate and pollution - will grow demand for safer products and treatments.