Men are becoming more concerned with their appearance, driving up sales of male skin care products and sparking the development of new lines in the process. While dismissed in some quarters as a metrosexual fad when it first surfaced in the late 1990’s, the trend has shown staying power.
Sales of men’s skin care products sold in department stores jumped 13% last year, more than twice the total growth for the overall and women’s skincare markets, according to NPD Group, a marketing information company. In 2003, revenues from men’s skin care products rose 10% while the women’s and total market advanced only 6%.
The growth in the market isn’t relegated to the high-end products. Sales of men’s skincare products surged 68.6% at mass market retailers compared to a 6% increase for women’s products, according to the research firm ACNielsen. Men’s shampoo and conditioner sales rose 17% while the market for women and unisex hair products was flat.
Expanding sales are driving cosmetics companies to introduce new men’s products, including department store brands such as Shiseido and Estée Lauder’s Clinique and mass-market lines from Avon Products, Gillette Co. and L’Oréal.
Drugstore chain CVS Corp. introduced an exclusive line. The company quadrupled its shelf space for men’s grooming products last year and sales are up over 20% this year, said Suzanne Hock, CVS’ category manager for men’s grooming. The brands don’t seem to be swiping customers from one another because the category is growing rapidly, she said.
"There is just more cultural pressure on men to look good," said Karen Grant, a marketing expert at NPD Group. Grant expects the boom to continue for at least another two years because the market is still minuscule, $59 million in sales last year, compared to the $2.1 billion women’s segment.
Sports tie-ins are also popular with other men’s skin care products. One Avon catalogue featured NASCAR diver Kasey Kahne, while New York Jets quarterback Chad Pennington graced the cover of another. Lilliana De Stefano, director of fine fragrances, specialty bath and men’s products at Avon, said the company opted for sports tie-ins because men relate to athletes and today’s players are more polished-looking than ever before.