When It Comes to Grooming…It’s Time to Man Up!

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets Tel: (44) 020 7193 6862 | March 13, 2013

It has been a very mixed year for the male grooming market across the Big 5. As with most other cosmetics sectors in the past year, male grooming sales have been uneven. On the whole, the segment is growing, but that is not to say that male customers have not been affected by the credit crunch, which Europe is only now making some strides to move beyond.

Male grooming figures take in a variety of areas—skin care, fragrance, hair care and more utilitarian products such as deodorants, for example. It is difficult to generalize in such a broad market but one attitude might be that male grooming needs to “man up,” as it were, to ensure that its future looks more certain and that future figures seem more favorable. It has taken men years to properly move out from the shadow of their wives and girlfriends when it comes to using beauty products and it would be a shame to see all this effort fall by the wayside.

Falling Flat

In France, figures from SymphonyIRI France have shown that male grooming fell 0.2% in the past year in value terms with volume figures slumping by a more worrying 1.8%. The male grooming market in France is now worth $1.2 billion, while volume sales came in at just over 195 million units.

In terms of new product development, local brand ClarinsMen developed Nettoyant Exfoliant, an exfoliating cleanser. According to the company, regular exfoliating is essential in order to deep clean men’s skin, which produces more sebum and renews itself more slowly than women’s skin.

Men’s skin care sales surged more than 11% in Germany.
Meanwhile, Lab Series (Estée Lauder) focused on the recent BB Cream phenomenon to inspire its last launch, a 10-in-1 formula that is designed to visibly improve the tone and texture of skin, while adding benefits such as hydration, SPF protection and oil control.

Natural products have always been popular with French men and the past year was no exception. Organic aromatherapy brand Florame launched a comprehensive men’s range based on organic essential oils. Focusing on a complex of cedar and organic argan for its toning, regenerative and protective properties, the line encompasses skin care, body care and EDT products.

These include an aluminum-free deodorant spray with essential oils of tea tree and palmarosa, a moisturizer enriched with organic argan, organic aloe vera and organic carrot, an anti-aging cream with organic jojoba oil and organic juniper berry extract essential oil, and an eye care product with fig extract, to help refresh and soothe the eye area. There were also three new eau de toilettes, Esprit Vétiver, Essence Oranger and Fraîcheur Boisée.

Positive Preening

Things were happily a bit brighter for the male grooming market in Germany, as sales rose 4.2% in the past year in value terms to total nearly $693 million, according to SymphonyIRI Germany. Volume figures were also positive with a growth of 2.9%, representing nearly 67 million units. Value sales rose in all segments as men’s shower products rose 3.7% to nearly $248 million, while men’s deodorant products climbed 3.1% to $359 million and men’s facial skin care products surged 11% to nearly $86 million so it was good news all round.

Some of the gains recorded in German facial skin care can be attributed to Lab Series Skin Care for Men, which does a brisk business in the country. During the past 12 months, the brand has launched three skin care products—Lab Series Instant Skin Booster, Lab Series Max LS Daily Renewing Cleanser with Max LS Recharging Water Lotion with Aquatron. All of them have been popular as they try to fit in with a busy man’s hectic lifestyle and grooming needs.

Italian Stallions?

Male grooming sales in Italy took a disappointing turn in the past year as male grooming value sales slid 3%, according to industry body Unipro. All sectors recorded a decline in sales including a 1.7% drop in sales of male soaps, shaving foams and gels; a 3.7% decline in aftershave products and a 4.4% decline in treatment creams.

In the UK, more guys are purchasing hair care products.
Although the figures for the past year do not support this, Italian men are famously into their beauty products and L’Oréal Italy holds a bit of a monopoly on the SKUs available in Italy. Biotherm Homme is one of its most successful male brands and its latest launch was the T-Pur Anti Oil & Wet range, which has been designed to eliminate shiny skin. The products contain purifying algae from Brittany and zinc to regulate sebum production. They also contain antibacterial agents that keep the skin thoroughly cleansed to prevent any future breakouts. Products include a cleanser and mattifying lotion.

Shaving Slump

More bad news comes by way of Spain where men’s grooming product sales fell by a worrisome 5.6% to $401 million and 4% in volume terms to 45.2 million units, according to SymphonyIRI Spain.

In terms of what each individual sub-sector was worth, razors accounted for about two-thirds of sales ($261 million); followed by shaving foams, creams and gels ($56 million); pre-shave treatments and aftershaves ($38.7 million); while facial treatment sales were $45.3 million.

The recent gloomy environment, however, does not seem to have deterred brands from new product development. Indeed, the wealth of launches suggests that companies are keen to maintain—and grow where possible—their share of a smaller market. Gillette introduced the Fusion Proglide Styler that is designed to help men trim and style their facial hair. The razor has three combs with different lengths and there is a precision edging blade for a sharp finish. The Fusion Proglide Styler is battery operated and can be used in both wet and dry conditions.

To accompany the new product, Gillette has released a non-foaming shave that allows men to see where to trim and edge their facial hair. Gillette Fusion Proglide Clear Shave Gel is said to also provide a smoother shave by protecting the skin against friction. There were also a number of aftershave and pre-shave treatment launches.

Grooming Go-Getters

Fortunately, it has not been all doom and gloom in the past year as UK sales rose 2.4% to exceed $1.2 billion in value terms, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Volume also inched up by 0.8% to 345.1 million units. All sub-sectors recorded gains, led by an 11.9% jump in fragrances and a 9.8% increase in hairdressing products.

To capitalize on the demand for men’s grooming products, celebrity hairdresser Lee Bancroft launched a new men’s hair care range in November at Tesco, following the success of his women’s range. The men’s range includes seven new salon-inspired products to appeal to all types of consumers.

Last summer in the UK, salon range Bed Head launched four new hair looks to suit a man’s mood, Mr. Sporty, Mr. Geek, Mr. Loud and Mr. Polished, alongside eight new products for men’s hair including Pure Texture Moulding Paste, Clean Up Daily Shampoo and Power Play Firm Finish Gel.

Far from being a flash in the pan, all indicators show that male grooming is here to stay; the desire is certainly there, as is the range of great new products that are hitting shelves all over Europe.

The recent mixed bag of sales results is disappointing and somewhat baffling, but hopefully these are a one off and next year will be much more optimistic. Come on men, get spending!

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.