Male grooming – Do it like a dude

While men's shaving once accounted for the lion's share of the male grooming market, men's toiletries are now coming to the fore, spurred by demand for skin care among men in Asia. But overall skin care brands are finding it tricky to tap male consumers. Here key triggers for success include efficacy, convenience, value for money and time saving attributes.

Effective, convenient, problem solving products are key to conquering the male grooming market, says Julia Wray

On one hand the men’s market is one of most stable areas in personal care: in 2011 male grooming was worth over $32.7bn according to Euromonitor International, up 10.2% on 2010, and it is predicted to grow a further 5.3% in 2012 to reach $34.5bn. Yet men’s skin care, the fastest growing and arguably the most interesting sector within male grooming in terms of NPD, is still relatively untapped even in mature market regions. And at a predicted worth of $2.7bn in 2012 it remains the smallest sector.

As Simon Duffy, founder of Bulldog Natural Skincare, notes: “Men’s skin care remains the exciting opportunity in personal care chiefly because it is so underpenetrated compared to other categories; 90% of women moisturise on a regular basis... but still only 25% of men do the same.”

According to experts, there are a number of factors contributing to (presently) low penetration in this category. “The market is almost as divided as ever in some respects,” says journalist Lee Kynaston, also known as ‘The Grooming Guru’. “There is a growing army of grooming savvy guys and this is growing every year. But not as fast as skin care companies would like!

“The industry lives in this bubble where we think that every guy uses eye cream and facial scrub. But on the ground if a guy uses a moisturiser and facial wash that’s an achievement.”

Duffy, meanwhile, attributes it in part to a lack of brands created specifically for men. “Everything on shelf is still either shaving regime-based skin care… or you have male versions of really famous female brands,” he tells SPC. “It may work for a core group but it won’t resonate broadly. If you take something that feels feminine and colour it black men see through that.”

But for brands that can generate that elusive ‘guy appeal’, skin care presents a massive opportunity. “The men’s market is based on grooming habits forming and growing, and gradual changes have been going on for years,” surmises Herbie Dayal, ceo of KMI brands. “Every year more men are using more products… and more frequently. It is a market that’s growing and growing.”

Growth has been aided by greater access to information about grooming through magazines, adverts and blogs. The benefit of this, says Kynaston, is that: “Men’s vocabulary has changed. Even the ones who only use moisturiser know exactly why they are using it. They are more educated.”

As Antoinette van den Berg, founder of Future-Touch (which forecasts trends and helps companies translate these into innovations), tells SPC: “Thanks to the internet and increased travel men are more influenced by other cultures. You have Japanese men dressing in traditionally English clothes and Dutch men in Japanese fashions, whereas in the past men were influenced by the people around them, their fathers and their community, and it was less easy to adapt to new things. It’s now easier for them to adapt to men’s cosmetics.”

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