Wig and Hair Industry
Report: Data Line August 2009
What is happening in the wigs and hair goods industry.
Sales in Wig the Hair Goods Industry have
increased in the US and Canada from around 200 million dollars in the 60s to
around 900 million dollars in the 90s.* In 2007 the industry grew to almost 2
billion dollars per year with the introduction or newer products such as mass
produced and custom lace wigs from China, and even South Korea as well as other
places in Southeast Asia. The main producer is China however. This period also
saw a revival of lace wigs coming from Europe but, at a considerable higher
price. Chinese products sold for 350 to 1200 dollars US with Chinese hair and
lace while their European counter parts with French and Swiss lace and European
hair were selling for 3000 to 9000 dollars each.
2008 saw a drop in sales to around 1.7 billion
dollars even with the influx of new lace wigs into the market from China. 2009 in
the first 1/4 saw another decrease of almost 25%. However, the market is
starting to recover for a number of reasons. One of them is "because" of
unemployment in the USA, more women are looking
for lucrative business opportunities
and are getting into the hair and wig business. The second quarter saw a
slight rise in sales and the 3rd quarter looks even better. The market may
be recovering and sales might be equal to the 1.7 billion in 2008.
probably will not reach the 2 billion mark this year. It may in fact take
several years to again reach that mark and possible longer to exceed it. The
economy drives this market as well as any other.
The amount of hair imported is considerable.
Much of it is in the form of wigs, hair pieces and hair extensions. Almost
all of the hair comes from India and China, South America as well as the
Middle East such as Israel are large suppliers as well. Europe,
(especially Russia and Russian satellite nations) which was a major
supplier in the 60' - 90's is importing less hair at a much higher price.
For this reason the Asian and Indian hair market is expanding considerably.
Approximately, 70% of all wigs sold are of
some type of synthetic fiber. Some new fibers are very good, look very real,
and have a good wearing life to them. That, coupled with the fact that
these product are less expensive, drives the market for great products with
a lower price. Most of these fibers are produced by the Japanese giant
Aderans Co., Ltd. Tokyo with factories all over Southeast Asia and
even mainland China. On the other hand, sales
in human hair wigs by dollar volume are different.
Over 50% of the dollar volume is for human hair products. Where a synthetic
wigs may sell for 50 to 200 dollars many human hair wigs sell for $300 to
$1500 American dollars and custom made products can range between $2000 to
$8000 or more.
Currently, more wigs are sold to women them
men. About 75% of the hair goods products are sold to women. Within this
groups however, a percentage of the wigs for women are also sold to
transgendered individuals ranging from transsexuals to cross-dressers mostly
over the internet. They are a large market for women's hair products whose
specific needs are often ignored. Because of religious intolerance and other
factors this is yet an untapped market for retailers and wholesalers.
Individual retail shops have sprung up all over the US that cater to this
minority and are doing extremely well.
Another area that has expanded considerably is
the sale of
for medical reasons. Chemotherapy, often used for breast cancer
treatment as well as other
cancers, causes hair loss in women and men. Sales of wigs called "Hair
Prosthesis," for insurance purposes, has increased tremendously over the
last 20 years and some manufactures are responding to the needs of these
woman with products that offer considerable more comfort because they are
designed for people with considerable hair loss and are not as abrasive to
the scalp as normal wigs might be plus they offer different methods of
holding the hair to the head. Normal pinning doesn't work when you have
little or no hair to pin too. This segment of the population has become the
focus of some retailers and wholesalers who specialize, even if not
exclusively, in the medical patients needs.
Many hair products sold to men cost considerable more than women's products since many are sold as
custom products. At other times they are sold as inexpensive units
and sold over
and over again to men as their less expensive pieces wear out. There are
clubs where the same cheaper hair pieces are purchased every 3 to 4 months.
Lace front and lace top hair pieces are also starting to gain popularity among the more
affluent with price tags up to $3500 for a custom piece.
The sales to the African population, mostly
all women, has increased by 300% over the last 10 year and is causing more
and more Chinese manufacturers to produce these products. They are
being sold to the retail market at a considerable lower cost with the
exception of lace wigs. We have seen more and more wholesale suppliers for
the African market come on board. Where 10 years ago the number of
manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers was in between 10 and 15, today
the market is robust and the number of members in the
Industry Suppliers Directory now has risen to 51 suppliers who produce,
* The statistics given here are a product
of the experience Hair Goods Wholesale has in the wig and hair industry
working with major manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers worldwide.
The figures are by no means exact but are estimates of what the industry is
doing as whole in the US and Canadian market. There are no
governmental reporting requirements or standards for the industry and the
reporting requirements that are in place cover much more than just hair
product sales. An import company for instance, may sell all kinds of
products from phones to pet food as well as hair and wigs. A
manufacturer may produce a diversity of products as well. Therefore, no
exact figures are available from any other source because the industry is so
large and diverse.