Market Potential in Beauty Salon Business: Research on Unilever
Subject: Marketing | Topics:

Assessing the Feasibility of Unilever‟s
Market Potential in Beauty Salon Business

Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. (UBL) is the Bangladeshi arm of Anglo-Dutch consumer goods manufacturer Unilever which is regarded as one of the world‟s most successful fast moving consumer goods manufacturing companies with access to global resources as well as local manufacturing facilities, economies of scale and above all synergy of resources and operations across the world. Unilever Bangladesh Limited, the leading company in the Bangladeshi consumer market has five departments to carry out all its organizational functions. Having owned some dominant brands in Home and Personal care product portfolio, the company now wants to evaluate its potential in the beauty salon business in Bangladesh with its fast growing hair care brands like Sunsilk, Clear and Dove. I was appointed in Brand Development Departments specially hair care department headed by the Senior Brand Manager as an intern to “Assess the feasibility of Unilever‟s market potential in Beauty salon business” on which my internship report is based. This research report is however designed to explore and assess the impact of consumer‟s hair care experiences provided through services in the beauty salon in Dhaka metropolitan city and Chittagong.

The study was conducted through use of a survey questionnaire followed by personal interviews of 24 ladies parlors, 4 men‟s salon and 43 individual customers respectively in the corresponding cities. It was carried out as the basis for understanding a comprehensive abstract of consumer stance towards the hair care product that are being used in the beauty salon to provide the hair care services. A substantial amount of data which includes both qualitative and quantitative issues resulted by the survey were then analyzed to learn more about the impact of these experiences, parlor‟s inside activities, hair care services and brand preference of both parlors and customers. Although both women and men were engaged in conducting the survey, however women appeared to be more concerned about voluminous hair and prevention of split ends than men. Based on several important factors, this systematic study yielded rich quantitative data (presented through figures, graphs,) and qualitative data (comments and opinions) which led to ascertain the market potential for UBL in the beauty salon industry in Bangladesh.

The statistics and comments obtained, provided substantial evidence that now a days almost everyone both male and female who are concerned about hair, consider hair treatment in beauty salons. Specific attributes of hair care problems like nourishment of hair, hair loss, dandruffs were cited as extremely important to the success of a quality hair care product with the suggestion that there may be a potential market for an herbal hair care product. The author gained dramatic insights about the significance of brand and quality and how it influences the consumers‟ attitude in choosing a hair care product like shampoo. Though customers personally prefer Dove, Pantene is however regarded as the most preferred brand followed by Sunsilk by the majority of the beauty salons.

This report provided valuable insights gained from the survey and suggestions to overcome some of the problems faced by parlors and salons regarding hair care products and thus analyzed the gaps and opportunities in the beauty salon market in Bangladesh to implement an effective plan to strengthen the use of UBL‟s hair care product in the beauty salons. The approach will not only utilize the favorable market condition that Unilever already holds but will also secure a strong market position for long term and thus will set the ball rolling towards the corporate and strategic goals of UBL for the forthcoming years.


The dynamic business world is rapidly changing. It is characterized by increasing competition from both domestic and foreign companies, increased mergers and acquisitions to grab more market share and more sophisticated and demanding customers who have great expectations regarding their choice of consumption. Since services are intangible, heterogeneous, and inseparable, it is difficult to measure service quality objectively. So the companies have to have an in depth understanding of the needs and demands of the customers in order to take appropriate measures that will ensure that their sales mounts and they remain competitive in the market.

Unilever is dedicated to meeting the everyday needs of people everywhere. Around the world Unilever foods and home & personal care brands are chosen by many millions of individual consumers every day. Earning their trust, anticipating their aspirations and meeting their daily needs are the tasks of Unilever local companies. Being premium in the brands with international and local expertise, Unilever brings the best service to their consumers. For more than 70 years Unilever has been providing consumers quality products and services.

This report mainly focuses on the personal care brands of Unilever Bangladesh, specifically hair care brands. The project deals with understanding beauty salons‟ purchasing behavior and their expectations, demands and opinions in the hair care segments to better serve their customers. The project includes both the qualitative and the quantitative issues regarding hair care such as hair problems, customer purchase pattern and expectations, parlor‟s reason for the preference of particular brands, range of customers they serve, concentration of customers throughout the year, suggestions etc. The main objective of the study is to identify the hair product buying pattern of the beauty salons and to have an insight of their demands and customer requirements regarding hair care to formulate strategies that will enhance the sales of Sunsilk, Dove, Clear for beauty salons.

General Objective:

The main objective of this report is to understand the demand of Beauty salons in Dhaka and Chittagong for hair care products which will help to find the market potential for Unilever in Beauty salon Business. That is to know the customer‟s preferences of the beauty salons when it comes to hair care, the important factors that drives their customer‟s consumption decision regarding a particular brand and the expectations they have concerning their hair that would help to target Sunsilk, Dove and Clear varieties available to meet different needs of hair care.

Specific Objective:

  • Enhancing the knowledge on the Beauty salons specifically the services provided by them, importance of their services, and their standard.
  • To understand the hair care needs of the customers‟ of ladies beauty parlors and men‟s salons.
  • To know customer‟s frequency of hair care product usage in parlors and salons.
  • Knowing customer‟s preferences regarding their hair.

Research Report

  • Be able to identify the hair problems that customers of parlors and salons face and wants to get rid of.
  • To have an insight of the customer‟s preferences of the available brands in the market.
  • Understanding the importance of the hair care services provided by ladies beauty salons
  • Be able to identify which hair care brands these parlors and salons prefer and why.
  • The customer visiting pattern throughout the year and the hair care service availed by them in parlors and salons.
  • Be able to match the variety of Unilever hair care products according to the needs of customers.
  • Be able to build strong trusting relationships with Beauty salons by addressing their needs and fulfilling them.

Research Methodology:

Data and information has been collected from two sources to conduct the survey and make this report a meaningful and a presentable one. I have adapted both the qualitative and the quantitative approach by gathering information through two questionnaires one for Beauty salons and other for Customers coming to Beauty salons. Most of the data that has been collected can be treated as primary data. Primary data has been collected directly by interviewing the beauty parlors covering the entire city of Dhaka and some places of Chittagong by means of survey questionnaires. I had been to 24 ladies beauty parlors, 4 men‟s s salons, surveyed 43 customers and interviewed beauticians and often the authorities of the parlors and men‟s s salons on hair care through the use of questionnaire and also gathered information by face to face conversation.

Furthermore, secondary data have also been used in this report and these secondary data have been mainly collected from presentations, websites, journals etc.

Data Analysis and Techniques:

The survey was conducted in Dhaka and Chittagong. A total of 28 parlors and salons (24 ladies parlors and 4 men‟s salons) and 43 customers from different were interviewed focusing on hair care. Analysis of the primary information was done by the use of Microsoft excel followed by descriptive analysis. Presentation of data will be shown in the form of various graphs and tables.

Overview of Unilever Bangladesh Limited:

Unilever, a globally recognized and trusted name for the last 82 years has touched the life of millions of people in a millions of way with its diverse array of products. No matter who you are and where you are Unilever will reach you to make you look good and feel good. To uphold this promise in 1964 Unilever starts its journey in Bangladesh by setting up its manufacturing facility at Kalurghat. Productions started off with Lux and Lifebuoy soap. After meeting the local demand, the surplus production was shipped to Pakistan. It was after independence that Lever Brothers Bangladesh Ltd was constituted with Unilever owning 60.75% shares and the Government of Bangladesh owning the remaining 39.25% shares. In 2004, Lever Brothers was renamed as Unilever Bangladesh Limited in order to align their corporate identity and logo with the global Unilever.

Unilever brands are trusted everywhere and, by listening to the people who buy them, they’ve grown into one of the world’s most successful consumer goods companies. In fact, 150 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product.

People’s lives are changing fast. As the way life and work evolves needs and tastes change too. Unilever aims to help people in their daily lives. So they keep developing new products, improving tried and tested brands and promoting better, more efficient ways of working.

They have a portfolio of brands that are popular across the globe – as well as regional products and local varieties of famous-name goods. This diversity comes from two of their key strengths:

  • Strong roots in local markets and first-hand knowledge of the local culture.
  • World-class business expertise applied internationally to serve consumers everywhere.


In recent times hair care has been a highly competitive and dynamic category driven by the latest styles and trends. People now aspire for better looking and they are getting more aware of hair care. They have many different needs and desires, which drive constant change in this category.

They started to feel that hair care needs fairly constant attention. Unlike clothing which can change an image in minutes, hair that is in poor condition is very hard to style well. Hair care product like shampoo has been the fastest growing segment of personal care market in Bangladesh. Here, global brands are gaining foothold on local shampoo market driven by faster growth in demand.

Ruled by global brands like Sunsilk, Clear and Dove of Unilever, Pantene and Head & Shoulder of Procter & Gamble (P & G), the shampoo market is registering a steady growth every year, amid massive marketing campaigns on hair care. But the company that leads the shampoo market in Bangladesh is Unilever Bangladesh Limited (UBL). The top three most sought after brands Sunsilk, Dove and Clear are offered by UBL.

If we take a look on the picture of shampoo market of our country, it is found that the total size of the market is 7089 tons (3000 TK in value). The total shampoo penetration rate is 88.9% where Sunsilk penetration rate is 55% which is the largest rate according to the information given by Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. Per capita consumption of Shampoo in Bangladesh is .93 Grams.

Unilever hair care brands have been catering to the needs of its users with a great degree of success in Bangladesh. In consumer market it rates itself as one of the prominent brands to be hankered after. Such as, Sunsilk secures its place in the consumer minds through frequent innovations in the product and maintaining its quality. The product reaches the end consumer through retailers, supermarkets and small stores. Its easy availability is one of the factors that determine its high consumer demand. Despite the gigantic triumph over consumer market through Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. envisions to go for a new market opportunity; that is salons in the beauty business segment.

This paper is going to study the “Assessing the feasibility of Unilever‟s market potential in the beauty salon business”. The analysis will assist in determining whether Unilever would be able to penetrate this new market segment with its hair care brands or not.

Concerning Hair Care Brands:

I basically worked for all the hair care brand of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. Those are:

  • Sunsilk
  • Dove
  • Clear


Originally launched in the Netherlands in 1956, Sunsilk provides real solutions to all women’s everyday hair needs in 80 countries around the globe.

Beautiful Hair Now! Life Can’t Wait!

Sunsilk, the number 1 brand in Bangladesh, have been catering to the individual need of its users with its unique formulation of natural ingredients. Sunsilk, with its high quality consumer perception, has been coming up with new innovations from time to time, always considering how girls feel and what they want.

For most of the girl now a day, life are now and now are life. But the emotional bond with their hair is like a roller coaster ride for these young ones. To them, hair is one of the most powerful tools for self-expression. Only Sunsilk realizes this and creates the spark that enables the girls to fully embrace all the exciting possibilities life has to offer.

Different Sunsilk for different hair needs

  • Black Shine:
  • Hair Fall Solution:
  • Soft and Smooth:
  • Thick & Long:
  • Damage Repair:

Key facts

  • Number 1 in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
  • Sales more than €1 billion a year.
  • Number 1 in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East
  • Sales of more than €1 billion a year.
  • Selling in 80 countries.
  • Also sold as Elidor, Hazeline, Seda and Sedal.
  • Recent Awards: Holds the Guinness World Record for the most heads of hair washed and styled in one day.

Sunsilk Co-Creation:

Sunsilk has come up with Co-creation formula created by the experts. They came with this idea to grab the market and to be superior in the market.

From 2009, Sunsilk started working with a number of professional hair “experts” to develop new and improved products. Each hair “issue” variant is linked to an “expert” with the relevant specialist hair knowledge. For example, Dr Francesca Fusco, a New York dermatologist, cocreated a “hair fall” variant for the brand. The lineup also includes: Jamal Hammadi for Black Shine, Rita Hazan for Vibrant Color, Teddy Charles for Plumped Up Volume, Thomas Taw for Damage Reconstruction, Ouidad for Defined Curls and Yuko Yamashita (known for Japanese hair straightening) for Perfect Straight.



After years of experiments and clinical studies, Unilever Hair care experts have developed a new all-round solution for treating Dandruff.

Unbeaten dandruff protection

Clear is the No 1* anti-dandruff shampoo in the country. The new Clear gives unbeaten dandruff protection and starts to get rid of dandruff from the first wash and with regular use, prevents it from ever coming back. In addition to its anti-dandruff properties, Clear has patented vita-ace technology that nourishes the scalp. Clear also features a conditioning system comparable to any other leading shampoo. Clear conditions the hair and ensures it remains soft. Clear’s vision is to be the scalp health expert and in keeping with this, four variants have been designed for specific needs to consumers. A separate Men’s range is also available because men are different.

Clear Complete Soft Care

Complete Soft Care gently gets rid of dandruff and gives great conditioning so that hair remains soft and silky and a healthy nourished scalp.

Clear Ice Cool

Clear Ice cool has cooling menthol to give a cool sensation to the scalp while ensuring healthy dandruff free scalp and hair.

Clear Hair Fall Defense

Hair Fall Defense reduces hair fall by 98%* as well as providing nourishment and dandruff protection.

*due to breakage vs. non-conditioning shampoo

Clear Extra Strength

Extra Strength has been designed for those individuals with severe dandruff and heavy flaking.

Clear Men

Besides these core variants, Clear has extended the brand to provide specific solutions for men because men are different. Research at the Clear Technology Centre in France verified that men’s scalps are different from those of women’s. It was found that men have oilier scalps and more prone to dandruff and hair fall. The packaging, perfume and formulation were specially adapted for men’s needs. The men’s range offers the following variants all of which have specific qualities besides getting rid of dandruff.

Clear Men Style-Express

Style-Express has 3 in 1 Express clean formula for extra manageability so that hair can be styled easily.

Clear Men Active Sport

Active Sport has been designed to give deep cleaning and reduce the oiliness of the male scalp. It also has cooling menthol for the clean and fresh feeling in hair.

Clear Men Hair Fall Decrease

Hair Fall Decrease has hair strengtheners to reduce hair breakage. It makes sure that hair stays where it naturally belongs.

It‟s excellent range of Unisex and Men’s shampoos clearly demonstrates that they have the expertise and technological knowhow in scalp and hair health which gives the confidence to challenge any user of a competition brand and ask “Can Your Shampoo do this?”



Dove today is in 80 countries making women beautiful every day and allows them to enjoy their own brand of beauty through its Skin Care and Hair Care Ranges. With its simple promise of moisture, Dove is regarded now as a superior product that provides a magically delightful experience.

Dove Therapy:

Dove therapy range which consists of shampoos, conditioners, leave-on lotion, serum and mask cater offers to the Bangladeshi consumers the damage repair solutions for their hair. It delivers the right level of nourishment, conditioning and active protection with its advanced serum to make hair more beautiful. Its rich creamy lather cleanses hair gently and advanced therapy system locks in moisture to help restore the moisture balance of hair‟s fiber. As a result, hair becomes soft and smooth to touch from roots to tops and noticeably beautiful.

In addition to this, Dove‟s range of Intense Damage Therapy, Hair fall Therapy and Dry Therapy are designed to work on dry and damaged hair to bring health and shine into one‟s hair.

Competitor Analysis:


Besides hair care brands of UBL the other recent brand that has taken the personal care industry by storm is Pantene. Since its very inception the brand has been a best seller. A product of FMCG giants Proctor and Gamble Pantene has slowly and steadily managed to capture quite a large amount of market share in Bangladesh. The brand’s best-known product became the conditioning shampoo Pantene Pro-V (Pantene Pro-Vitamin).

Marketing campaign of Pantene:

„One of the important marketing campaigns of Pantene is “Pantene You Got the Look”(YGTL) beauty and brains pageant in the country. YGTL has been taking place for six years. Every year, the show has attracted many gifted young men and women to its fold. YGTL has become, over the years, the benchmark of prestige and glamour and it has catapulted many of its participants to the realm of stardom‟ (

Head & Shoulders:

Head & Shoulders is a brand of anti-dandruff shampoo produced by Procter & Gamble. This research found that consumers of our country possess a reliance on Head & Shoulders for their dandruff problem.


L‟oreal, one of the world’s largest cosmetics and beauty companies, is another important player in the hair care market of our country. According to the survey of this study L‟oreal shampoo is specially demanded by 20+ aged respondents.


Lolane is a Thai shampoo brand mostly used in the salons in Bangladesh. Cheaper price and maintained quality leads the brand to be used at salons substantially.

Private Label Brand:

This study revealed that a cosmetic shop at Gawsia Market named „Fency‟ produced an herbal shampoo for salon buyer. Specifically C category salons are the target market of this private label brand.

The other brands in the market such as Garnier, Rejoice, Flex, Fermasi herbal, Palmolive are also playing to catch away the market share from UBL and P & G.

Project actions:

In this project I basically went through the following tasks to collect accurate information and help my line manager take effective decision making.

  • Preparing questionnaire
  • Visiting beauty salons.
  • Interviewing beauticians
  • Reporting to my supervisor
  • Strategic assessment and analysis to counter problems


Brief of these are given below:

Preparing questionnaire: The task was to identify the hair care problems and recent hair concerns and based on it I prepared 2 questionnaires one for Beauty salons and one for customers comprising of both the qualitative and the quantitative issues relevant to ladies beauty parlors and men‟s salons.

Visiting beauty salons: I visited 24 ladies beauty parlors and 4 men‟s salon. That was totally of my choice no preference was given by the organization.

Interviewing beauticians: One of the most important part of my duty was to interview the beauticians or the authorities as well as the customers of the ladies parlors and men‟s salons and completing the questionnaires regarding the hair care problems, customer purchase pattern, expectations, Beauty salon‟s reasons for the preference of particular brand, range of customers they serve, and suggestions etc.

Report to supervisor: My job was also reporting to my supervisor and updating him on my field survey on a regular basis. I had prepared daily works logs informing my work status to my supervisor.

Strategic assessment and analysis to counter problems: Finally the task was to analyze the findings from the field surveys and suggest strategies to counter the problems identified and recommend possible solutions.


Findings represented in this report are based on the survey I have conducted around the Dhaka city and some places of Chittagong. There are mainly two types of findings that I have gathered. These are:

  • Beauty salons : for understanding salon activities
  • Customers: for understanding Customers

Those are discussed in detail below:


Understanding Beauty salon‟s activity

Basic information of beauty salon‟s:

24 Beauty parlors and 4 men‟s salon from different areas of Dhaka city and Chittagong that I surveyed are Farzana shakils, Alviras men‟s, Alviras women‟s, Dreams, women‟s world, women‟s pavilion, Sweet Dreams, pink lady, Adomiz menz, Persona men‟s, elegance, Jhinuk, Irani, eve‟s, Baishakhi, women‟s choice, Lady line, lolona, Dew dreams, Bahbis, skin solution, shelli‟s eve‟s, Eve‟s herbal beauty care, oishi, shajai, May fair, Perfect in, Thai beauty care etc.

All of them are located in Dhanmondi, Gulshan, banana, Mohakhali, Uttora, Mirpur, Malibag, Shanti nagar, Nasirabad. Most these parlors were established about 5-10 years back. Other than Thai beauty care salon (joint venture) all of them are local companies.

Capacity information of parlors:

By Capacity we mean how many customers can be served in the parlor at the same interval of time. It basically depends on the space, facility, sitting arrangements, equipment‟s and the employees of the parlors.

According to my survey most of the parlors in Dhaka city are low capacity based and not so developed. Although Some parlors like Farzana shakils, Elegance Beauty parlor,Women‟s World

Beauty parlor. Alviras Beauty care and Eve‟s beauty care salon (Chittagong) are high capacity based parlors.

I basically divided the number of customers served at the same interval of time in different range from 1 to 60 customers. Most of the parlors I surveyed laid under 1 to 10 number of customer range.

Target customers profile:

From the survey I found that most of the customers coming to beauty salons are aged from 18 to 45. People from lower class, middle class, upper class status come to beauty salons. Lower class status people mainly come for eye brow pluck. Basically morning and the evening time is the rush hour in parlors.

Capacity of Beauty parlors

Information regarding parlors internal activities:

Since this report is all about hair care I mainly focused on different hair related services provided by different parlors. All of them provide almost same kind of services, these are:

  1. a) Hair cut
  2. b) Hair treatment
  3. c) Hair color
  4. d) Blow dry
  5. e) Hair spa
  6. f) Hair conditioning
  7. g) Hair oil massage
  8. h) Hair straightening/ Rebounding

Average number of customers coming to parlor per day:

I divided average number of customers coming to parlors per day into different ranges from 1to 100. According to my survey, most of the parlor‟s average customer coming per day is (11-20). Alviras beauty care ,Elegance Beauty parlor, Farzana Shakils, Sajai Parlors Ltd, Women‟s world Beauty Parlor‟s average number of daily customers are high (40 -100). (Appendix-4)

Average number of different Hair related services that are sell per day:

People mainly go to beauty parlor or salons for haircut. It is must for all kind of people even if he/she is not so conscious of beautification. Figure 2 demonstrates the services provided by the beauty salons in Dhaka and Chittagong.

Hair care services that include hair wash:

It basically depends on the customers whether they want hair wash or not. But still in following

cases most beauty parlors and salons provide hair wash.

  1. a) Hair cut
  2. b) Hair treatment
  3. c) Hair color
  4. e) Hair spa
  5. f) Hair conditioning
  6. g) Hair oil massage
  7. h) Hair straightening/ Rebounding

They provide hair wash along with haircut and blow dry if customers want that. (Appendix-7)

Most preferable shampoo for different parlors:

Shampoo is a very important product for every beauty salons as well as which brand of shampoo to use. They have to take special care of their customers‟ hair that fulfills their demand regarding their hair appearance. Different customer have different demand and problems regarding their hair so they have to keep different brand of shampoos in beauty salons or keep shampoo which suits all type of hair.

This survey focused on the most popular brands in the market. During the interview, the parlor‟s and salon‟s impression on these brands were taken into consideration. Pantene is considered as the most popular brand in the beauty salons with 57% of the parlors use Pantene followed by Sunsilk as 50% of the parlors considered Sunsilk as their preferable brand. Head & Shoulders came third with the 21% parlor considered it as the preferable brand of shampoo for dandruff.

From the interview I came to know Clear is not much popular with women and Head & Shoulder is thought to be the least popular brand among women. On the contrary, Head & Shoulder is the most popular brand among men‟s salon. Garnier, Loreal, Clear, flex, rejoice and Dove have more or less similar rating with moderate importance.

Most of the Beauty salons use herbal shampoos such as Lolen herbal, Ayur herbal, Opals herbal shampoo, Fancy herbal which they purchase from a shop called fancy in Gausia market. Some parlors also use their own herbal shampoo. Some beauty salons imports shampoo from abroad.

They refuse to tell the name of those imported shampoos. They didn‟t provide any particular information regarding monthly requirement of shampoo. Most of them said it depends on the number of customers coming per month. Some said they require 3 to 12 gallons per month, In case of 400 ml bottles they require 12 to 15 bottles. Beauty parlor such as Elegance use mini pack shampoos. They require around 20,000 mini packs per month and small parlors like Irani Beauty parlor require 30 to 40 mini pack of shampoo.

Factors that Beauty salons consider in purchasing shampoo for parlors:

Beauty salons consider four main factors while purchasing shampoos for the parlors. These are

  1. a) Product Quality
  2. b) Price
  3. c) Availability
  4. d) Consumers preference

From the survey I found most of the parlors consider product quality first followed by price and consumer‟s preference. Availability is not a big issue for any parlor because shampoos are now largely available in wholesale market, super stores etc. Most of the parlors keep shampoos at a visible place to customers. Although most of the parlors doesn‟t look for customers choice of shampoo but still if customer have any personal choice they mostly look for herbal shampoos, Pantene, Sunsilk, Head & shoulders.

Supply chain information:

Beauty salons mostly collect shampoos from 4 sources. These are

  1. a) In house
  2. b) Contractual supplier
  3. c) Illegal importer(Luggage party)
  4. d) Whole sale market

From the survey I found most of the parlors purchase their shampoos from whole sale market. Since most of the parlors I surveyed are low capacity based they don‟t require huge amount of shampoo per month so they purchase from near wholesale market whenever they need shampoo.

Apart from this, beauty salons also purchase shampoo from contractual suppliers. Usually medium and big parlors purchase shampoo from contractual suppliers. Some collect imported shampoos from illegal importers. In house made shampoo is very rare. But after the survey I came to know that they prefer to buy shampoos from contractual suppliers. (Appendix-11)

Promotional activities:

From the interviews taken I found most of the parlor didn‟t go for any promotional activity. They said they are interested to do promotional activities for different products if they are provided with incentives. Still some of the parlors did some promotional activities like giving free shampoo washes to customers, free hair oil massage etc. Most of the promotional activities are done by parlors using Unilever products like Sunsilk, Clear. (Appendix-12, 13)

Understanding Customers:

Basic information of customers:

Having surveyed 43 customers from 28 beauty parlors, I found most of the customers are students, house wives. Among the customers there are also some Service holders, Bankers, Teachers etc. Women aging from 18 to 45 mostly come to the parlors.

Customers thought and preference:

People are now very much conscious about their hair.Now they are not only concerned with their personal way of taking the basic care of their hair; but they want to take extra care by taking different hair treatment, oil massage etc at the beauty salons which eventually leads them to visit beauty salons. Since the pollution has been increasing day by day and the weather is changing due to the global warming consumers are facing different hare problems such as,

  • -Hair fall
  • -Hair roughness
  • -Hair texture
  • -Dandruff
  • -Skin dryness

According to my survey I found that most of customer face Hair fall, Dandruff, Hair roughness. For these reasons they come to parlor to take different treatment to deal with those hair problems. Despite the Haircut and treatment being the main reason for the visit to the parlor, customers also prefer treatments for the following reasons:

-Nourish Hair

-Prevent Hair fall

-Repair the damage due to sun and styling

-Soften hair and make it appear manageable

-Prevent hair from spreading out

According to my survey most of them take hair treatment to prevent hair fall. From the survey I also found that most of the customer come parlor on an average 6 to 8 times for different purposes like haircut, treatment, eye brow pluck etc. Most of the time they go for hair wash such as

  • When hair become rough.
  • Before any program or party
  • Before hair cut
  • After hair treatment, hair spa, straightening/rebounding.
  • To prevent hair fall
  • When suffering from severe dandruff
  • Every Friday
  • When hair becomes too dry
  • For shiny silky hair
  • After traveling
  • If hair needs extra care

Most of the customers feel good about taking hair wash in parlors. Although they are not always aware of the shampoo brands that are being used while washing hair in different parlors.

Different customer wants different kind of hair appearance. Most of them prefer a smooth, silky and shiny looking hair.

The benefits that customers are looking for in a shampoo:

  • Prevent hair fall
  • Remove dandruff
  • Prevent roughness
  • Makes hair healthy, nourishing, soft
  • Keeping hair clean
  • Makes hair healthy and strong prize
  • Should contain protein
  • Repair Damage
  • Brings split ends together
  • Quality shampoo at a reasonable price.

Brand of shampoo that customers personally prefer

From the interview I found that most of the customer personally prefers Dove as daily use for hair wash. They think Dove suits hair, decrease hair fall, makes hair soft, very much effective, and makes hair more manageable and good for daily wash.

They also prefer Sunsilk, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Clear for dandruff, Lorel, Garnier, Herbal Essence and Flex. Some of them also prefer Herbal shampoos because they think to take of their hair naturally herbal shampoos are the best because they don‟t contain chemicals and artificial ingredients which have adverse effect on skin.

Other insights from the interviews:

While interviewing, I have also come across some important issues.

  • One of major concerns of both the parlors and salons were that the Unilever products that they use are often fake and they find it impossible to differentiate between the authentic product and the fake one.
  • Many of the men‟s salons and ladies parlors complained about the product Clear being very rough for the hair. While interviewing at Farzana Shakil‟s makeover salon, they complained Sunsilk Black contains color and many people are sensitive to chemical colors and prefers natural colors.
  • Some of the parlors that have Sunsilk branding on their outlets have said that often customers ask about the variety of range of Sunsilk products and their usage besides the shampoo such as the Sunsilk‟s treatment range, conditioner etc. But due to the lack of information on such products and unavailability of those products, they are unable to help their customers.
  • Many parlors and salons have complained that teams from Unilever have approached them for promotional activities such as free shampooing offer period or for outlet branding but have not contacted them afterwards or followed up. So according to them, there was lack of coordination from Unilever Bangladesh.
  • After interviewing the ladies parlors, it has been identified that herbal products have a great demand and a lot of cheap Chinese and Indian brands are used to fulfill such demand and many are even claiming such products as their own whereas some parlors have their own range of herbal products.
  • Many parlor and salons claim that the prices of Unilever‟s products are too high and they import other reasonably priced products from abroad whereas large parlors claim that Sunsilk is a low end product and their customers are unwilling to get their hair washed by Sunsilk and rather prefer Pantene which they consider a high end product.
  • It has also been identified from the interviews that many customers rely on the suggestion of the beautician, especially they are more likely to use the products recommended by the beauticians and do not research on their own about beauty care .
  • Many parlors have raised the question about why Unilever does not introduce anything for hair treatment such as hair spa or shampoos for colored hair which has great demand.A large number of parlors have expressed their willingness to purchase shampoos if they were available in 5 liter gallons with a reasonable price.


Unilever is undoubtedly the market leader at hair care category in Bangladesh with the brands Sunsilk, Clear, and Dove when considering the consumer market. Sunsilk ranked itself at the 4th position in the top 10 brands in the country in 2010 (Brand Forum, 2011). In the context of business market such as Salon, the scenario is different. Unilever is facing stiff competition from both ends. Procter and Gamble‟s Pantene and Head & Shoulder outperformed UBL in the upper category. There are some other brands such as L‟oreal, Flex, Rejoice to name which pose threats for Unilever brands to enter into this market as well. On the other hand, guerilla brands like fancy herbal and other private label brands are capturing the market share of lower category products. Despite these, Unilever cannot afford to ignore the potential of this lucrative market because of the adverse challenges and competition. Therefore, the existing brands should give a second thought over its existing market practices to secure a larger share in this pie.

Here are some recommendations for Unilever to make it possible. The recommendation focuses three routes to reach the desired market objectives of Unilever.

  1. Intense Pull Promotion
  2. Repositioning of the Brands
  3. Development of new brand in herbal category

Intense Pull Promotion:

If we have a look at the current market strategy of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd to line up the Beauty salon business, we would find that they are somewhat associating with the Salons by giving them some incentive packages. In return the salons place UBL‟s POS materials in their outlets. And thus promotes the Unilever brand. Unilever is trying to develop the market by pushing their products but the strategy does not work with this segment. Clients of the salons are well aware of the brands that are used in Salon to provide hair care services. Since these clients pay a handsome amount of money to get these services, they choose the brands to be used where service employees of the salon have nothing to say.

From this it can be concluded that consumer preference attaches the salon attitude to hair care brands. Hence, Unilever cannot overlook this fact and should not pursue push promotion strategy anymore. Instead, they should position it in the minds of end consumers so that they want Unilever brands to be used at Beauty salon. Higher consumer demand would lead these beauty salons to use Unilever brands to provide services for their customers.

Repositioning of the Brand:

The brand image of Unilever hair care brands such as Sunsilk, Dove, Clear at the consumer market is favorable, but unfortunately clients of the beauty salon do not prefer this brands as their first choice. These fashion-conscious, affluent groups of people want to feel something special at the salon. These folks expect something exclusive because they think in the way that it is not only about hair rather it involves total personality whereas Unilever brands are highly available and affordable hair care brand whose shampoo is even sold at 1 Tk. of SKU. They have more negative brand associations related to these brands. This research finds that most of the consumers cannot entirely rely on Unilever brands for the treatment and styling of their hair.

Analyzing all of those factors, the author suggests that Unilever should reposition its hair care brands along with its entire market dimension.

  • Unilever should properly communicate that it‟s a „per‟ brand in the category relative to its competitors.
  • It should break the current frame of reference and come up with a new connotation.
  • It can use the „Smell Marketing‟ by revitalizing its current smells to reach a higher height.
  • Sunsilk could come up with mild colors instead of their current deep colors.
  • Sunsilk could think about its existing bottle and come up with a new packaging.

***If the Unilever hair care brand development team management is not willing to pull promotion and repositioning then it could come up with a new product under a new brand name

Development of new brand in herbal category:

In today‟s busy life hair is exposed to different elements that cause hair damage and unhealthy scalp. Most often people are used to instant fixed, instant hair treatment, instant hair color, and other chemical based hair products. But people become very much conscious about their health including hair conditions. There are numbers of hair problems that needs to be treated, some of it are, hair fall, dandruff, hair breakage, dry and dull hair. As a common treatment people go for their favorite brand of shampoo and conditioner. Having used those brands they got the situation unchanged which push them to go for something natural. The study finds that consumers view herbal Shampoos as the best for hair with severe damages and problems. They perceive that herbal shampoo carries the healing wonders of herbal medicine, with no chemical formula; herbal shampoo is not artificially stuffed with other unsafe elements rather it is naturally based from organic ingredients. And in the perspective of our country, people even now don‟t bother about the brand name when it comes about the herbal category.

Evaluating these findings the author recommends that Unilever could launch an Herbal Shampoo under a new brand name like Natural Solution or Natural Fusion. This could lead to a potential opportunity for Unilever‟s market development into beauty salon business for hair care category.


As I have mentioned before that due to my Internship program I got the opportunity to work for the Unilever Brand development department (Hair care) and during this time I was required to observe 28 parlors and salons all over the city. In this research my aim was to find opportunities and challenges of market potential for Unilever hair care brands in the beauty business segment.

Market development seems to be a valuable decision for a multinational company like Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. as it includes risk, investment, controls in a greater degree. At the same time beauty businesses appears as a significant market opportunity for the provider of shampoo and conditioner. This study found out that the current market position for Unilever brands on the perspective of Beauty salons and customers. But by analyzing all the information‟s it can be summarized that Salon attitude towards Unilever brand is favorable for new market development in Beauty salon business.

Unilever Bangladesh has the opportunity to increase sales in parlors and salons sector if they can build a good relationships with these parlors and salons, solve the current problem they are facing and convince them to use Unilever‟s brands by meeting their expectations with a better quality products then a large amount of profit can be generated from this sector

Finally, I would say that this internship at UBL has strengthened my capabilities and provided new magnitude of knowledge and skills as I had to make plans, attain required knowledge and implement them in order to meet the project objectives within the appropriate structured framework. As I am towards the end of my qualification (BBA) , this research enabled me to apply the theoretical knowledge, skills and techniques into practice for real life circumstances which has provided me a meaningful and further better level of understanding in regards to the academic studies. I have also understood how the academic contents are purely to help me understand various methods and techniques in respect of the practical and real life aspects. Thus, I believe, I began to correlate my academic studies with the aspects of relevant real life scenario which would eventually contribute towards becoming a professional.

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