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Hair goals: Alberto and Head & Shoulders jostling for shampoo supremacy

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,956 (including 5,428 shampoo-buyers)

Nobody likes a bad hair day, and fortunately there’s no need to have one, what with the plethora of shampoos available to keep our crowning glories healthy, glossy and under control. According to the latest data from Roy Morgan Research, nearly three-quarters of the population buy shampoo in an average six months, with two very different brands currently vying for best-seller status: Alberto and Head & Shoulders.

In the year to June 2016, 73.9% of Australians (14.5 million people) purchased shampoo at least once in an average six months. Some 14.5% of them purchased Alberto shampoo, just ahead of the 14.1% who bought Head & Shoulders. This represents a healthy year-on-year increase for Alberto (up from 12.8%), allowing it to overtake Head & Shoulders (down from 14.5%).

Pantene (which, like Head & Shoulders, is part of the Proctor & Gamble stable) is third-most popular shampoo brand, purchased by 12.5% of shampoo buyers in an average six months. Palmolive (11.7%) and Tresemmé (11.0%) complete the top five.

Australia’s 10 best-selling shampoo brands


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2015-June 2016, n=14,956 (including 5,428 shampoo-buyers)

Given that women are more likely than men to be their household’s main grocery buyer, it’s hardly surprising that they are more likely than men to purchase shampoo. This pattern is only reversed when it comes to dandruff-specific brands like Head & Shoulders (purchased by almost three times the proportion of men than women) and Selsun, as well as supermarket-branded shampoos.

Alberto and Tresemmé are much more popular among consumers under 50 than the older age bracket. Both brands also attract an above-average proportion of buyers who believe that ‘It’s important to look fashionable’ (Palmolive, on the other hand, is the least likely of the 10 best-selling shampoos to appeal to these trend-conscious shoppers).

Dove sells more widely among the under-35 age group than folks aged 35+, which suggests that the brand’s high-profile ad campaigns targeted at inspiring confidence in young women are reaching their target audience.

Pantene is the only brand among Australia’s 10 top-selling shampoos that’s more popular among the 50+ market than the under 50s.   

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In a market as crowded as shampoo and hair-care products, it can be difficult for brands to stand out from the pack. While there has been some moderate movement among the best-sellers, with Alberto overtaking Head & Shoulders, and Tresemmé and Garnier Fructis gaining ground, the four most popular brands seem to have an unassailable grip on the market and currently account for over 50% of all shampoo buyers. 

“Unilever-owned Alberto has recently taken the lead from dandruff brand Head & Shoulders. With its range of brightly packaged, fruit-themed shampoos, some of which are paraben-free and others which don’t contain silicones or colourants, Alberto is clearly positioning itself as a natural, gentle option in a product category where chemical ingredients are common. Pantene, on the other hand, is more about specific hair needs and the science of haircare. 

“Obviously, such different brand identities attract different kinds of consumers, with variations between age and gender being just the tip of the iceberg. Using the deep data of Roy Morgan Single Source, haircare brands can gain a far more holistic understanding of their current and potential market, from the attitudes influencing their purchasing decisions, to the kind of advertising they’re most likely to notice.

“For example, our data reveals that people who buy Organic Care shampoo are more likely than those who purchase any of the other 10 best-selling shampoos not only to self-identify as environmentalists but to ‘try to buy Australian-made products as often as possible.’ Clearly, these consumers have done their research and chosen the brand that best aligns with their values… ”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%