Models come with NTC thermistors, fuses, metal ceramic heaters and tourmaline titanium plates.
The latest hair-styling appliances from China promote safety and health as suppliers utilize better electrical and heating components.
To improve safety, several companies incorporate NTC thermistors and high-temperature fuses in the devices. These enable the units to shut off automatically when not in operation for a long time, thereby preventing overheating. Such components, however, increase prices. In the case of Shenzhen Success Industry Co. Ltd, they push up quotes by 5 percent. The supplier's model XHY-7FB hair curler with the above features goes for $7.30.
Apart from electrical parts, makers are enhancing thermal attributes. Enterprises such as Global Best Way Co. Ltd use metal ceramic heaters in high-end hair straighteners and curlers. Reaching 210 C in 20s, these units warm up faster than PTC, which takes 2 to 3min to attain the same temperature.
To provide better hair care, other manufacturers turn their attention to replacing ceramic plates with tourmaline titanium variants. When heated, the material emits negative ions that produce hydroxyl ions when combined with water, making water less alkaline, thereby relaxing and moisturizing hair and giving it a smooth finish.
Suppliers are offering travel-friendly options by releasing rechargeable and foldable models. An example is a hair straightener from Foshan Lifecode Electronic Tech. Co. Ltd that measures half of the normal size at 12.5x5x4cm when retracted. It can run for 20 to 30min on a full charge of 4 to 7hr. On first use, 8hr is required.
To enhance convenience further, an increasing number of makers are adopting power cords with bases that rotate up to 360 degrees to prevent wires from becoming entangled during operation. This design does not affect prices significantly, and has become more common in midrange and high-end versions.
Several manufacturers are also improving visual appeal. Taizhou Avatar Electrical Co. Ltd, for instance, offers the model AV-8833 hair straightener. The handle is decorated with synthetic gemstones, which add character while securing grip.
Sales & price projections
Hair dryer selection
Hair straighteners & curlers
Suppliers are generally optimistic of strong sales in coming months on the back of growth last year.
From January to November 2010, export volume and revenue climbed 27 and 31 percent YoY, respectively. During this period, outbound shipments of hair dryers exceeded 80 million units valued at $372 million. Both figures registered an increase of almost 28 percent from the previous cycle. At the same time, more than 117 million hair straighteners and curlers worth $503 million were sent to international markets, recording 28 and 31 percent growth.
Suppliers such as Taizhou Avatar and Global Best Way obtained 30 and 35 percent higher foreign revenue in 2010, while a handful of manufacturers generated even larger gains. One example is Zhejiang Jundeli Electric Co. Ltd. Its export sales last year exceeded $4 million, 67 percent more than in 2009.
Compared with these figures, however, makers' 2011 forecasts are more conservative. Shenzhen Success and Global Best Way are predicting 10 and 15 percent increases in orders in the next six months. Businesses are still cautious about expanding factories and adding equipment. They estimate current capacity is sufficient to accommodate a spike in requests.
Considering surging production costs and inflation, a few suppliers are more restrained in their forecasts. Wenzhou Prostyle Trading Co. Ltd, for instance, expects similar sales performance as 2010. This is understandable as manufacturing outlay alone climbed between 5 and 20 percent YoY in January due to the rising rates of labor and raw materials.
In consequence, companies such as Zhejiang Jundeli predict prices of hair-styling appliances will jump by 5 to 8 percent in the next six months. The supplier has imposed a 10 percent increase since last quarter.
Similarly, Global Best Way's quotes climbed by 5 percent during the same period. The maker expects upward adjustments of between 5 and 10 percent in the half-year ahead.
Hair dryers for travel, home and salon use are available from China. These are respectively categorized into low-end, midrange and upscale segments, listing at $2.50 to $3.50, $4.50 to $9 and $9.50 to $16.
ABS and PC are the popular housing materials for all product types, while PA and metal are additional options in premium designs.
Motors and electrical components are the main price determinants for hair dryers. Basic models come with heating coils in nickel and chromium. The units utilize DC motors with a power rating of 800 to 1,200W.
Suppliers incorporate ceramic thermal elements in midrange and high-end releases, cutting the devices' power consumption by 30 percent. Some upscale versions may have PTC heaters instead.
Products in the midrange are matched with 1,200 to 2,000W motors, while the more expensive variants have 2,000 to 2,200W counterparts.
Models at the bottom of the price scale integrate basic functions. As units pack styling nozzles and additional features, including a cooling mode and speed selection, quotes go higher. For instance, a hair dryer with cool-shot capability, and two or three speed and thermal settings is considered midrange. It can also support negative-ion generation and overheat protection.
High-end versions are equipped with functions for professional use such as four temperature and two speed levels. Accessories include concentrators and diffusers, while housings may come in copper or cold-rolled steel for increased durability. Power cords extend up to 3m and some have 360-degree swivel bases. Add-ons consist of hanging loops and removable filters.
China suppliers likewise offer hair straighteners and curlers for professional, home and travel use, with a similar market segmentation as dryers.
Prices start at $2 to $3.50 for low-end versions, climbing up to $4 to $7 and $7.50 to $10 for more advanced counterparts.
The most expensive models come with metal ceramic heaters, LED displays showing operating temperature, auto shut-off capability and protection against overheating. The housing materials are PET, PP and PBT.
Companies adopt PTC elements, and aluminum plates and barrels in low-end releases.
Midrange units may have the same components, plus ceramic and tourmaline plates. These hair straighteners and curlers pack heat settings, indicator lights and accessories such as brushes, and flat and spiral irons. In addition, the exteriors are made of ABS or nylon, and swivel bases for electrical cords can be installed.
Low-end options are rechargeable, and have the basic functions and a universal power rating. The housings come in PET or nylon.
Model: Hair Dryer
Wenzhou Prostyle Trading Co. Ltd
Zhejiang Jundeli Electric Co. Ltd
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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