Consumer Products

The Global Surge in Human Hair Exports

28 May, 2024 | Statistics

The beauty and fashion industry has witnessed a significant transformation in recent years, driven by the increasing demand for human hair used in wigs, extensions, weaves, and toupees. Fashion trends, social media influence, and medicinal needs all contribute to this growth. The need for premium hair products is only going to grow as individuals become more self-conscious about how they look.

The rising demand

Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube have made it easy for fashion trends to spread rapidly, influencing millions to adopt new hairstyles and invest in premium hair products. Meanwhile, the prevalence of hair loss conditions such as alopecia, receding hairlines, and pattern baldness has emerged as a major global health concern. Over 50% of people will, at some point in their lives, experience hair loss of some kind. It is estimated that 2% of the world's population may experience alopecia areata at some point, impacting 160 million people globally, including 6.7 million in the United States.

Besides, India became the industry leader in 2022 for human hair export, making up an incredible 88.4% of all exports worldwide. Pakistan(2.8%), Singapore(2.4%), Indonesia(1.3%), Brazil(1.2%), Japan(0.5%), Afghanistan(0.4%), Italy(0.4%), China(0.3%), and the United States(0.3%) came in after India. In FY 2023, India's hair exports alone brought in $682 million. 

Among the types of hair exported, Remy hair stands out as the most sought-after due to its high quality. The top exporters of Remy hair include India, followed by China and the United States. On the import side, Myanmar and Austria lead the market, each accounting for 28% of global imports in 2022. Additional noteworthy importers comprise Italy (10.6%), Vietnam (8.31%), Singapore (6.96%), and Sweden (6.01%).

Consumer demographics

Interestingly, over 60% of women globally invest in hair wigs or extensions. Conversely, 99% of men who purchase hair products prefer toupees over wigs or extensions. Younger consumers, particularly those under 25, often use wigs and extensions for leisure, while older age groups use them primarily to address hair loss. The age group of 35 to 44 years represents the largest share of the industry, as hair loss typically becomes noticeable during one's 30s and 40s. By age 35, 40% of men experience significant hair loss, and by age 40, 40% of women have visible hair thinning.

The distribution of hair wigs and extensions is facilitated through various channels, including e-commerce platforms, retail stores, hair salons, and hairstylists. The convenience of online shopping combined with the personalized service provided by salons and stylists ensures that consumers have easy access to these products. Moreover, while wigs and extensions offer temporary solutions, hair transplants provide a more permanent remedy for hair loss.

Over 650,000 patients worldwide consider hair transplants the most effective treatment, with nearly 703,183 procedures performed in 2021. Men dominate this market, representing 87% of patients, while women account for 12%. Turkey has emerged as a leading destination for hair transplants, attracting around 1 million people in 2022. Procedures can cost up to eight times less in this country than in the US, UK, or other European nations. The clinics are well known for their skilled surgeons and affordable prices. On average, patients spend about $2,000 per procedure in Turkey, contributing to an industry worth roughly $2 billion annually.

Driven by fashion trends and medical needs, the global market for human hair continues to grow. The market for premium human hair is always growing as more people look for flexible styling options and hair loss remedies that look real.

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