The Men's Grooming Market

November 9, 2005

As more men admit to caring about their looks, manufacturers are noticing their potential as customers

In the mature personal care market, manufacturers are always looking for a new niche to help grow their business. Sometimes these niches are just a passing trend in the market but sometimes they turn into a constant, viable segment that manufacturers can depend on for the long term. As more men than ever before take the extra time to tend to their appearances, it looks like the men’s grooming market is here to stay.

For a long time the men’s grooming market basically only comprised razors and shaving cream. Therefore, men who were inclined to take their grooming habits a step further, were forced to shop in the female-oriented beauty aisles for their personal care products. This has changed in the past several years, however, as more companies are recognizing the importance of the male consumer to their bottom lines.

“Every major consumer products company in the world wants to be in the men’s category,” said Jim Fogg, director of marketing, American Crew. “It’s growing very fast and once you present a high quality product to these consumers, they continue to use it.”

During the past several years, the men’s grooming market has expanded tremendously, both in sales and product offerings. Companies are launching skin care products, hair styling products, hair color products and fragrances targeted toward men at amazing rates. This growth is being driven by a number of factors. For one, as is the case in the female market, aging baby boomers are starting to understand the effects of aging and are turning to skin and hair care products to help them look and feel young. Furthermore the plethora of male-oriented lifestyle magazines, such as Maxim, GQ and Esquire, tout the benefits of skin and hair care regimens and show male role models, such as entertainers and athletes, using these products.

“Men are a lot more comfortable with grooming because people are more modern,” Mr. Fogg said. “They are influenced by entertainment and sports and see these men using more styling and grooming products. Men are really learning how to tell the difference between these products.”

Because men often use female or unisex products, it is hard to clearly define the growth of this market. However, Packaged Facts New York estimates that the worldwide men’s segment recorded sales of $7.3 billion last year, representing about 15% of the total beauty market. This share is sure to rise, however, as the men’s market is growing at 11% annually, which is twice the rate of the women’s category domestically.

These prospects are further evident in the many companies entering the category. “In our opinion, both the mass and prestige markets for men will grow at a rapid rate as men become more and more comfortable using personal care products,” said Katrin Yaghoubi, Anthony Logistics for Men, a New York-based men’s line scheduled to launch this month.

Men are viewed as ideal consumers by personal care product manufacturers. Whereas female consumers tend to be fickle, fluctuating from brand to brand on a whim, male consumers are more easily wowed by high quality products. Once they find a product they like, they tend to stick with it for the long term.

“Men are much more brand loyal than women,” explained Peggy Bil-lings, brand manager, Clubman USA, a men’s grooming line owned by American International Industries. “It doesn’t matter what the price is as long as it’s high quality.”

What a Man Wants
As men become more interested in their appearances, they are also demanding products that are specifically suited for them.

According to manufacturers interviewed by Happi, men want basic items with real benefits and shy away from products perceived to be pampering.

Anthony Logistics for Men gauged what men want by recruiting more the 300 men to participate in focus groups and distributing more than 500,000 product samples. The company found that the two biggest male trends were light, easily-absorbed products and light fragrances.

“The products also have to seem quick and easy to use, therefore we selected tubes and simple dispensing caps to keep it simple and straightforward,” Mr. Sosnick said. “To further appeal to men, copy on the packaging is kept clean and simple with product labeling broken down into ‘Objective,’ ‘Strategy’ and ‘Method of Use.’”

Mr. Sosnick decided to launch Anthony Logistics about two years ago when he noticed a lack of choices for men in the personal care market. He then spent two years assessing what men wanted from a personal care line. The result is a 26-product line comprising a head-to-toe regimen for men. The line contains cleansers, toners, moisturizers, scrubs, masks, sport sticks, shampoos, conditioners, styling aids, shaving products and bath and body products.

“Men care about shaving, exfoliating and moisturizing and Anthony Logistics offers products for all these areas of skin care,” Ms. Yaghoubi said. “Men also want products to be simple, fast and easy and therefore we have created our products to be multi-functional and multi-beneficial.”

For instance the glycerin cleansing bar and the glycolic facial cleanser can be used for cleansing and shaving. Shower gels cleanse and moisturizer and the moisturizing sport stick can be used on the lips, under the eyes and in the nose and ear areas.

Brian Robinson, director of marketing for Zirh, a New York-based men’s grooming line, said men want simplicity, natural ingredients and not a lot of fragrance which is why men need more than simply fragrance line extensions in their skin care regimens. A complete men’s skin care line, Zirh has a three part system: clean, correct and protect. This system was scientifically engineered to provide ultimate results for all skin types. The Zirh skin care system not only exfoliates, cleans clogged pores and evenly removes dead skin, but it also nourishes and provides the highest level of skin protection as well, according to company executives. In addition to this system, the line also includes conditioner, shampoo and shaving products designed specifically for men.

“Men want products that are especially designed for them,” Mr. Robinson said. “Women are still an important influence but men are definitely becoming more in tune to what’s going on in the segment.”

Educating Men
For years, most men shied away from grooming products, allowing the women in their lives to make the decisions when it came to personal care. Now, as more men are either living alone or making more of the purchasing decisions in their households, they need to know more about grooming products. Realizing that most men are reluctant to ask questions about products, many manufacturers are providing education programs to help men in their purchasing decisions.

Education is paramount to success in the men’s category, according to Anthony Logistics for Men founder Anthony Sosnick. Mr Sosnick’s New York-based men’s line, scheduled to launch this month, will simultaneously launch an informative website, www.anthony.com. This website will serve as an informative vehicle rather than function as an e-commerce site, offering tips on men’s grooming and product descriptions. “Part of our approach is to educate customers because a lot of men need education when it comes to skin care,” Mr. Sosnick said. “The market is growing and a large part of our goal in launching these products is to educate.”

In addition to its informative website, Anthony Logistics for Men is placing heavy emphasis on training sales people and has developed an extensive training manual that answers almost any question there is about men’s skin and personal care.

This month, Estée Lauder’s men’s division, Aramis, will launch the men’s grooming market’s first cosmetic line, Surface. Company executives said the line targets men in their 30s who are noticing the early signs of aging such as fine lines and discoloration. “The products are purely cosmetic, meaning you put them on and they work and then you wash them off,” said Terry Darland, vice president of marketing, Aramis. “The concept should be easier for men to buy into because most men are looking for instant gratification.”

While skin care products have registered some success in the men’s grooming market, men don’t always understand the long term effects of a skin care regimen, according to Ms. Darland, whose company’s skin care brand, Lab Series for Men is the prestige market leader.

Surface products use the latest breakthrough technology of blue reflectors and mirror spheres to even skin tone and give the appearance of younger looking skin. Lauder also uses this technology in its Prescriptives color cosmetics line. In this female-oriented line, the reflectors are pink, however, to achieve a rosy glow desired by women. The company used blue reflectors in the men’s line because it decreases ruddiness in male complexions, according to Ms. Darland.

Surface products include optimizing skin cream, skin smoothing gel, healthy look gel, shine erasing gel and cooling therapy kits. Four shades of an instant correcting stick round out the line.

Ms. Darland said the company conducted surface groups to determine exactly what men were ready for in terms of image enhancing tools. “It was interesting to see how far they would really go,” she said. “Originally we offered only one shade of the concealer but the men requested multiple shades to go with different skin types.”

Surface will launch in 12 U.S. cities this month and, may eventually roll out nationwide depending on its success. Ms. Darland said the market for these image en-hancing products could become as large as the men’s skin care market which, on the prestige level, is now around $41 million, according to the NPD Group, Port Washington, NY. “As technology allows us to create cosmetics products that don’t seem too feminine, we will definitely see tremendous growth in this category,” Ms. Darland predicted.

While some may say that men are not ready for cosmetics, Aramis executives disagree. The company will promote the new line at men’s style events and through a print ad campaign in major men’s publi-cations.“You have to be straight forward and honest when marketing to men," Ms. Darland explained. “They don’t want any gimmicks.”

A Boom in Grooming
Though makeup for men may seem like a radical idea to some, there is no doubt that men are becoming more demanding in their personal care needs. Multi-national Shiseido recognized this trend earlier this year when it acquired a majority interest in Zirh. In announcing the acquisition the company recognized the strong potential of the men’s skin care market both in the U.S. and abroad.

Zirh’s Mr. Robinson said Shiseido will help the Zirh brand both through shared technology and global outreach. The brand is comprised of 15 SKUs and is currently sold in 158 doors worldwide. “By partnering with a company such as Shiseido, we can show retailers that we are serious and will have a permanent standing in the men’s grooming marketplace,” Mr. Robinson said.

One of the areas where Zirh intends to focus is sun care by launching five or six products this spring. Another emerging category, the company said, is hair care. Currently Zirh shampoo and conditioner are the company’s No. 2 and No. 4 best selling products, respectively, and account for 16.9% of the company’s sales.

“Hair has always been frowned upon in the prestige market,” Mr. Robinson said. “That’s changing for women and men and it’s definitely one of the areas where we are going to focus on in the future.”

Clubman U.S.A., a men’s line that has been around since 1810, recently launched a line of hair styling aids to appeal to men. The products, including styling gel and pomade, are designed for the active male who wants to look great without a fuss, according to company executives. “We are looking to address the younger consumer with this line,” said Peggy Billings, Clubman brand manager, American International Industries. “These consumers are really not afraid to try anything when it comes to grooming practices.”

Hair Color is Huge
Although hair styling aids and skin care products are appearing rapidly in the men’s grooming market, hair color is now by far the fastest growing segment. According to industry re-search, 13 million U.S. men color their hair each year, an increase of 80% during the past decade. This growth has allowed hair color to outpace all men’s categories except razor blades.

Men also tend to color their hair more often to avoid the emergence of roots and achieve a more natural looking hair color. Frequent hair coloring is also prompted by men’s tendency to get their hair cut more often. “Men go through hair color more quickly because they don’t want people to see their roots. Also, they tend to wash their hair more often so they need to recolor more often,” said Olivier Ceccarelli, vice president marketing, L’Oréal hair color. “A lot of men like to color their hair when they get it cut. That way people attribute the change to the cut instead of the color.”

Older men are more secretive about their hair color and use it specifically to cover up gray but younger men use hair color to make a fashion statment. With that in mind, L’Oréal first entered the male specific hair color category with its youth-oriented brand, Feria. These four male-oriented shades create shimmering highs and lows on hair, giving brilliant and intense color results with depth and dimension. Initial shades included bleach blonding, camel, cherry cola and gothic.

“Men’s attitudes toward hair color are definitely changing,” said Michelle Saxe, senior product manager, Clairol Natural Instincts. “We see this in both younger males as well as boomers. Boomer men have come to realize through their women counterparts that blending away gray can positively affect the attitudes of others toward them as well as their own self-image.”

Clairol recently introduced Natural Instincts for Men to its hair color portfolio. The products are made specifically for younger men who want to restore natural hair color with a contemporary formula that delivers natural results while protecting and conditioning hair. Available in 10 natural-looking shades, the shampoo-in formula contains a unique complex of fortifying ingredients which are attractive to men.

“Many men were using women’s products because the women were making the purchases for them,” Ms. Saxe said. “It was clear that there was an opportunity to address men’s needs with a highly targeted and practical men’s brand.”

In a recent survey, Clairol found that 73% of women do not find men with gray hair sexy and most men and women see no problem with men coloring their hair. Furthermore 67% of respondents found black and brown hair to be the most attractive hair colors on men while 21% and 14% chose blonde and red, respectively.

The success of Feria among younger men has led L’Oréal to target the older male with Casting Color Spa for Men. Company executives said that men are comprising more and more of their hair color consumers. This is driven by an increasing desire among men to look young and healthy.

“Men want to look healthy and fit,” said Olivier Ceccarelli, vice president marketing, L’Oréal hair color. “Gray hair doesn’t look healthy so erasing gray in a natural way is a strong trend.”

Casting ColorSpa for Men is quick and convenient, a feature men want in their hair color products, according to L’Oréal executives. Its easy, one-step Applicolor system is virtually mistake-proof and doesn’t require mixing or blending.

Hair color manufacturers are expecting the booming male hair color segment to continue to grow as younger men, who are not afraid of hair color, enter their graying years. These men won’t be shy about their hair coloring preferences, using color to hide gray and change their look at once.

“The men’s hair color market is a way to address to an emerging market and expand our business,” Mr. Ceccarelli said. “Additionally, it’s an exciting way to introduce our business to a totally new population. Men are a huge part of the population and the brand can only gain strength from them.”

Whether it’s fragrance, hair color, skin care, hair care or even makeup, more products than ever before are appearing in this men’s grooming market and it seems everyone wants a piece of the action. As more and more men begin to realize the impact these products can make on their appearances, as well as their lives, there will be no stopping the growth of the men’s grooming market.