Groom for Improvement In the Mens Market

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | March 11, 2011

Results have been mixed in the European male grooming category in the past year with some countries posting gains and others losses. This was a marked difference to 2009 when all countries in the Big 5 reported gains in value terms. Many have pointed to a certain apathy creeping into the sector, as attention to launching new male grooming SKUs has waned as manufacturers increasingly chased after the female euro and pound. Another possible explanation for the apathy was that this sector’s launch activity has yet to get going again properly after manyarrivals were put on hold during the recent recession with only one or two key areas seeing real investment.

Movement for Mass

According to the latest figures from Mintel, the French male grooming market managed to eek out a 0.7% gain in 2010 to reach $1.3 billion. However, mass-market sales have been much more buoyant with SymphonyIRI France reporting some good gains in key areas. The third biggest sector of the French male grooming market, that of shower gels, put on a very healthy 6.4% to $93 million (for sales through supermarkets and hypermarkets) while deodorants for men also grew 2.3% to $267 million. However, the much smaller sector of skin care registered the most growth, 7.6%, to $36 million in 2010. This sector often incorporates shaving products and this is where a good portion of the NPD activity was focused in France in the past year, and was certainly the case when it came to domestic stalwart L’Oréal.

The latest shaving innovations in France focused on ensuring that the skin stayed protected and moisturized. From the L’Oréal stable, LaScad brand Mennen introduced Xtreme Protection, a grooming line featuring a soap-free, moisturizing shaving gel, and a shaving mousse that is boosted by softening agents and glycerine to protect skin from irritation. An aftershave balm, formulated with alum and allantoin, claims to help repair, protect and calm skin. And, earlier this year, the Men Expert line introduced Sensitive Shave Gel and two new Anti-Irritation shaving products, a gel and a foam, each featuring the brand’s new Skin Protect System which contains two silicones instead of one to help improve glide and create a protective barrier to reduce friction.

Domestic Dedication

At press time, no figures were available on how the German male grooming sector had fared in the past year, but general reports from industry insiders point to a rather static year, with no real movement in any direction. This could, perhaps, be do to the fact that manufacturers have targeted German men less in the past year, possibly because of budget constraints or possibly because of an apathy that is creeping into the sector as a whole. When it came to NPD, there was little of it from the multinationals, although it was good to see that home grown champion Beiersdorf had some new activity in its popular Nivea for Men line.

Firstly, Nivea focused on skin care by rolling out the new DNAge Lift for men product, which it claims is its most advanced anti-aging moisturizer within the Nivea for Men series. The product is said to be scientifically proven to reduce wrinkles and firm the skin thanks to its Collagen Activating Complex, an effective combination of creatine and guarana which improves the skin’s elasticity and gives a lifting effect.

Later in the year, the company moved on to shaving care with its new Arctic Freeze Aftershave Gel Fluid, which contains arctic freeze cooling agents along with guarana to refresh and moisturize the skin after shaving as well as controlling the oil balance in the skin.

Male Looking Pale

There was disappointing news in Italy as the male grooming sector there struggled in the past year, falling 1.9% to $743 million, according to Italian trade group Unipro. Aftershave lotions suffered a particular loss of form, dropping 3.5% to $93.6 million, while men’s fragrances also lost 2.1% to $462 million in the past year. The normally popular category of shaving products slipped 1.7% to $120 million. One of the few sectors to make a gain was skin care, which rose 1.2% to $67 million.

Unilever, with its many brands, is always a popular choice among Italian consumers and its Clear shampoo line has been a mass-market favorite when it comes to tackling the common problem of dandruff. In 2010, the company debuted a line of products specifically for men, called Clear Men, comprising a shampoo available in five references. These were Clear Action 2-in-1, Clear Purifying, Clear Ice Fresh, Clear Anti Hair Loss and Clear Sensitive 2-in-1. The products feature zinc pyrithione and vitamins A, B and E, which are said to rid hair of dandruff with continuous use.

Spanish Slump

According to the latest data from SymphonyIRI Spain, the male grooming market posted disappointing results in both value and volume terms in 2010. Sales of face and body, shaving and aftershave products fell 7% to $105 million. Meanwhile, volume fared only slightly better, falling by a rather less worrying 1% to five million units. The hardest hit individual category was that of male body treatments which plummeted 20%.

Spanish consumers are always excited by new formats and some of the latest developments which have been a hit with Spanish men are the new generation of roll-on products designed for an array of uses, ranging from products formulated to combat undereye circles and bags to acne touch-ups or aromatherapy solutions to combat stress and fatigue. Leading brand L’Oréal Men Expert introduced Hydra Energetic, a double action roll-on format to quickly stimulate and drain congested areas around eyes. In the selective channel, fellow L’Oréal brand Biotherm Homme launched Force Supreme Re-Builder in 2010. It is a roll-on, anti-aging massager which firms skin in three ways—firming double chins, smoothing wrinkles and eliminating bags by“redefining, re-firming and revitalizing” skin care, according to the company.

Britain Bucks the Trend

The UK male grooming market, including razors and blades, did buck the general trend by growing 3% last year to $1.3 billion, according to data from Kantar Worldpanel. Volume sales rose 2% to 328 million units.

The male grooming market was made up mostly of deodorants and bodysprays, $431 million; male fragrances, $209 million; skin care, $145 million; shower products, $142 million and lastly, shaving preparations,$115 million.

Although shaving preparations is the smallest category overall, actual shaving hardware is going from strength to strength in the UK. British brand King of Shaves is often cited as something of a trailblazer when it comes to ergonomic design in shaving hardware and 2010 saw King of Shaves launch the Azor M Alloy System Razor, which debuted in February last year, and Azor M Sensitive, which joined the Azor M on store shelves last October. The Azor M has a hybrid metal alloy and polyastomer handle, while the sensitive version combines the alloy razor’s weightier handle with the softer, more flexible hinge of the Azor S. Both are said to give the brand’s closest, most comfortable shave yet.

Looking back on the past year’s activity in the Big 5, it can be seen that much of the recent NPD activity for men either focused on skin care needs or the process of shaving and its associated products. While other sectors that are perhaps more utilitarian, such as deodorants and hair products, may not have seen much NPD activity, it seems that skin care and shaving are two areas to watch in terms of investment and innovation. Although it is hoped that a wider focus on the category in general going forward might help to kick start it again and get those sluggish sales figures moving once more—definitely a case of groom for improvement.


European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited,Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447 • Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622