Unstoppable Dominance of Braids
Comprehensive Review of Top Braids in 2023
In a 2013 issue, BNB Magazine asked experts how long the popularity of braid styles would last for a special coverage of braids trend that started in spring. The beauty experts we interviewed at the time formed two groups: one said it would last till the winter and the other next summer. It turned out that nobody was right. Over next ten years, the braid trend did not wane, and hair product companies are still bringing new and different braid products. What kind of products will claim the 2023 braiding hair market? Based on the product information provided by hair companies, we review the 2023 braid trends and the marketing strategy for beauty supply retail stores, and compiled “the list of Top Braids”(PART 2).
PART 1. Braid Market Diagnosis
1. When did braids become a trend?
Way back in 1994, when Google Trend was not a thing, braids made a fashion trend once. Then, superstar Janet Jackson wore braided hairdos, and many African American women flocked to beauty supply retail stores to catch up with her style. The braid trend was intense and lasted about two years till 1998.
The revival of braid trend was in early 2013. From trendy big metropolitan areas, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, to small and mid-sized cities, the braid trend swoop across the U.S. One of the reasons is that Beyoncé with her thicket of fan base started the boom by showing off her box braids in April 2013 during her trip to Cuba. Another reason people often talk about is the long-lasting economic downturn that had driven the consumer demand for relatively low-priced braiding hair products. The increased self-pride and cultural identity among African Americans also boosted the trend.
In fact, Google Trend shows that from 2013 spring, the number of searches for “box braid” increased significantly, and it stayed very high ever since. (The search term “braid” shows similar trend.) In response to the natural hair boom, box braids, Goddess braids, Senegal braids, Crochet braids, and Jumbo braids made the top searched words, establishing themselves as the mainstream items in the braiding hair market. Therefore, you can say the braid trend started in 2013 and lasted 10 years.
Beauty supply business owners say “braiding hair” continues to sell regardless of economic downturns. Hair companies also anticipates that the slow economy will continue to fuel the consumer demand for braids which are easy and economic to maintain and worn for a long time.
2. What are the braid trends for 2023?
“The best style for easy maintenance that does not require complex care routines and is also a great protective style” is also the most versatile item providing infinite style options. The decade-long braid trend has brought a wide array of braiding products with respect to material, feature, and design. We surveyed hair companies to find out what are the most anticipated braid styles in this year.
Company G: Box braids, feed-in braids, Goddess braids, and cornrow styles are the most popular ones lately. These braids can be styled into up-do, ponytail, and bun hairdos. Also called invisible braids, feed-in braids are created by adding increasing amount of hair along the braids. It starts from the scalp and ends in an extremely natural style. Braids can be even more stylish if your personality and preference display in the look.
Company I: Anyone can appeal to the public through social media, and more contents are available than ever. While numerous hairstyles and colors will be on trend, this summer’s biggest hit will be hot colors. Hot pink, baby pink, and baby blue are modern colors that are leading the charge, and box braids, curly and braid mix, Boho braids, and faux locs are expected to be top trending hairstyles.
Company N: Since last 3Q, Boho styles are making the advance, and its popularity should peak in this summer. Boho styles feature loose wavy ends that are left un-braided, so stretch braids and other pre-styled braiding hair can be used to complete a style. On the other hand, crochet products that are pre-styled to Boho are also available for added convenience, which should give you a wide selection of products to offer for your customers.
Company B: Bulk braids should be pretty popular this summer. Bulk braids deliver length and volume without frequent styling or heat-based treatment needs, so it can be versatile and easy-to-maintain style options for people with natural hair. Stylish and eye-catching looks created with bulk braids will allow you to show off your personality and creativity.
(☞PART 2. Check out the list of ‘Top Braids in 2023’ here)
3. What to do to sell braids better? Tips for beauty supply retailers
▶Wide range of offerings
-from box braids to cornrows, twists, and so on, in braids category, there are so many products serving different purposes. In addition to various styles of braids, you should also carry braiding tools and other items for styling.
-recommend multi-pack products for basic color for higher per-customer purchase, and offer single and 2X pack for special colors that save shelf space.
▶Value! Selection and focus
-to reduce inventory, carefully select trustworthy and high value brands and stock popular products and brands with all available styles and colors to bring regular customers and boost sales.
-clearance sales for slow moving items to make space for new items.
-display items in the clear line of sight for customers while offering correct pricing and product information. Even if you don’t have enough space, you should at least show all the colors.
-Nothing beats a model wearing braids. You can use mannequins, pictures of hair models, and banners supplied by wholesalers.
-Demonstration area for customers to experience actual products within the store can be helpful. You can demonstrate various types of braiding techniques for customers.
▶On- and off-line promotion
-You can try visiting braiding shops nearby to promote your products.
-You can run braiding workshops where customers can learn how to braid and about styling tips. You can create a community around your store and establish your local market.
-Utilize social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube to promote braid product and service. You can share various styles of braids in picture and video and add tags for customers to purchase featureditems easily. Collaboration with influencers are highly effective.
▶Knowledge is power! Customer satisfaction
-Well-trained employees should know products well, have ability to advise on braiding techniques, and give styling tips professionally. If you train employees to be easily approachable and attentive to customer needs, your customers will have satisfactory experience at your store.
-Product knowledge shines when you do not carry a certain brand product that a customer looks for but you can recommend similar items from different brands. Based on the characteristics of braids, you can provide tips to prolong the life, mix with other products, apply certain chemical products for maintenance, and so on from various perspective to help customers beyond selling products.
4. Taming the dominance of braids
Last ten years, the hair market was more or less dominated by braids. However, you cannot just wholeheartedly welcome the dominance of braids if you are a wholesaler or retailer. When BNB asked for product information about braiding products, a company respectfully declined to provide materials. It cited the fierce price competition that is causing difficulty in sales.
Wholesalers and retailers agree that braiding hair is a typical high volume low margin product. You need to sell hundreds to make some profit. Whether you are a manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer, it is not very different. Nevertheless, consumers are buying braids, braids, and braids, so you need to carry them. You need to think about who is really benefiting from the dominance of braiding hair products.
To avoid a lose-lose game, the braids should recover its proper level of retail price with realistic margin. From manufacturing to retail, everyone should seek ways to improve profit margin. Also, there should be other hair products to compete with braids in the market. Currently, braiding hair products make up 70% of the entire hair product market, but ideally, human hair products should have a higher market share. Everyone is waiting for a release pitcher in the game, and next issue of the BNB will survey the candidates.
PART 2. Comprehensive Review of Top Braids in 2023