Men-tal as anything: Male grooming packing a punch

Once the domain of females, the bathroom cabinet is slowly but surely being taken over by the male gender and his growing collection of lotions and potions. In fact, a recent study by Roy Morgan research found that in the year to March 2016, 3.7 million Australian men over 14 years old purchased at least one skincare product in any given six months. While this is lower than their female counterparts – 37.9 per cent compared to 83.7 per cent – it is still a huge market. 

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“Male grooming has been a key area of growth for a while, but in more recent years, we have tracked significant changes in male grooming habits across skincare and dermo-cosmetics in Australia, which has certainly been reflected in sales,” says pharmacist Anneleen De Roeck. Dateline Imports managing director David Taylor adds: “Looking and feeling your best has crossed gender lines. The industry will continue to grow exponentially as more men become knowledgeable of grooming.”

What’s popular
In Australia, hand and body lotion is the most popular skincare category among Australian men, with 26.8 per cent purchasing a product in an average six months. This is followed by facial moisturiser on 21.5 per cent and facial cleanser on 17.8 per cent. The only category that didn’t put hand and body lotion at the top was the under-25s, with facial cleanser just beating it out on 24.7 per cent versus 24.2 per cent.

But while hand and body lotion was the favourite, skincare is snapping on its heels with the category fast gaining traction. “Men’s grooming is far more indulgent than just a quick shower and shave. Now the whole regimen of hair, skin, body and apparel is essential for a bloke to feel bolder,” reveals Dear Barber managing director of distribution Stuart Hislop. Nutrimetics international product development manager Lisa-Marie Volpe agrees, saying: “We have definitely seen a shift in the men’s grooming category consisting from the very basic products to now including more specific products targeting men’s skin concerns.”

One skincare area that is having its time in the spotlight is anti-ageing. “We are focused on launching and promoting more innovation in men’s anti-ageing products as a result of requests and feedback received globally from our male customers. The trend is definitely towards products that make men look younger, fresher and more energetic than they feel,” says Clarins head of training Charlotte Turner. 

Male specific products
A look at the bestselling face care and hand/body lotion brands among Australians puts NIVEA Men out front. The top five brands in the face care category are NIVEA on 17.9 per cent, L’Oréal on 5.8 per cent, Olay on 5.0 per cent, Dove on 4.3 per cent, and Lacura on 4.2 per cent. NIVEA also heads up the hand/body lotions category on 10.2 per cent, followed by Vaseline Intensive Care on 7.1 per cent, QV on 6.8 per cent, Dove on 6.1 per cent and Palmolive on 5.0 per cent.

“Men’s skincare may not be as large a market as women’s but it is still a crowded one. The NIVEA Men and L’Oréal Men Expert ranges are prominent examples of products specifically designed for and marketed at men. NIVEA has been especially successful in this respect, and is the bestselling face care brand for Aussie men of all ages – hitting its peak with the valuable 25-34 year-old bracket,” says Roy Morgan Research industry communications director Norman Morris.

“NIVEA is also the dominant brand in the hand/body lotion category. Hand and body lotions are generally quite unisex in their branding and marketing, which suggests that NIVEA’s success in this category may be the result of men being familiar with its face care range and feeling confident that they’ll also like its hand and body lotion.”

Why the growth
Being really, really ridiculously good looking isn’t a new concept, so why has the male grooming market been showing such phenomenal numbers of late? De Roeck explains: “Evolving lifestyles and attitudes towards male grooming have helped affect buyer behavior. Men are using moisturiser and targeted cosmetics daily, rather than saving them for special occasions.” A fact Taylor has also noticed at Dateline Imports brand Silver Bullet. “Male grooming used to be seen as a chore but, as shown by the barber shop revival, men are now taking pleasure in their appearance.”

For Bulldog Skincare founder Simon Duffy, the growth has come from an increased amount of style diversity being adopted by men: “There is more freedom and confidence to try different things out. Just look at the variety of ways that men will wear their beards or style their hair.” Hislop believes this is being driven by the past being revisited. “There is a strong heritage of classic male grooming that has been accentuated by vintage trends being reinvented. Male grooming has slowly grown and morphed with other cultural genres in fashion, music, sport, eating.”

When it comes to hair, men are using more hair styling products due to current hair trends requiring an increase in styling products in order to achieve the look, reveals muk haircare director Mark Gariglio. And while the hipster trend is declining in popularity, it can be thanked in part for the growth in male grooming according to Living Nature marketing and communications co-ordinator Gillian Hornell. “The ‘hipster’ beard trend has generated a flow-on effect of increased interest in men’s skincare products and the need to not just look after your beard but your skin as well.”

The future
Male grooming is not going anywhere. In fact, it’s only set to continue its upward spike. “We see the male grooming industry continuing to grow and expect to see more targeted treatment products available for male skin such as serums and masks,” reveals Hornell.

Duffy agrees, concluding: “Overall the future is very bright, driven by an increasingly engaged and growing base of consumers. Look at emerging product categories like beard care. Look at disruptive business models like Dollar Shave Club in America. These are both indicative of growing interest in male grooming. We will see more interest driving more innovation, and this in turn will create challenges for traditional brands and retailers. It is going to be a very exciting 10 years for everyone who is connected to this market.”

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