According to Euromonitor, European sales of men’s grooming products grew a scant 1% last year to just under $12.5 billion. Across the three main categories, spending was fairly evenly distributed between fragrances ($4.6 billion), shaving ($3.8 billion) and toiletries ($3.8 billion). However, shaving products, the stalwart of the category, have come under pressure due to the trend for beards, which have replaced the clean-shaven look. The full hipster beard is actually worn by relatively few men, but growing numbers of European men prefer to have some level of beard growth, eschewing the need for daily shaving. Lia Neophytou, associate analyst, GlobalData (previously Canadean), calls it the “normalization of fuller beards and facial hair which is naturally shaping innovation in the male grooming category.”
KantarWorldpanel has been tracking men’s grooming usage between 2012 and 2016. While shaving overall may be dipping, there was a 5.8% increase in visits to the barbers, a 3% increase in skin care usage among 11-24 year olds and half a million more body shaving occasions. Further proof that men’s grooming is on the increase is that 616,000 more men say they like to spend a lot on beauty products.
What They Use
European men are highly engaged with certain product categories, such as shower gels (used by 81%), shaving products (71.9%), deodorants (74%) and shampoo (63%). But facial skin care is another matter with only 26% of European men using facial wash, scrub, cleanser, toner, wipes and/or moisturizer. Polish men are slightly more engaged, with 31% claiming to use facial skin care. The potential for growth is enormous, especially given expansion of men’s skin care ranges to include toners, serums and wipes, which are designed to tackle specific skin concerns. Examples include Jack Black Clean Boost Soothing Antioxidant Toner to calm and refresh skin and Lab Series Max LS Power V Lifting Serum, which is designed to tighten facial contours for younger-looking skin. The normalization of fuller beards and facial hair is naturally shaping innovation in men’s grooming, maintains Neophytou.
“As more men shun their razors in favor of a beard, brands are discovering a lucrative niche in beard upkeep products,” she explained. “These have moved on from the simple beard oil conditioners to include beard wash and conditioner, that make use of scented oils, beard balm and styling products.”
Neophytou suggests that whereas millennials initially drove the fuller beard fashion, older consumers are now embracing this trend and that this is inspiring the development of sophisticated beard products. For example, Mo Bro Ultimate Beard Wipes is a novel idea that involves heating wipes in the microwave to remove food from the beard. Other products combine beard care with skin care by educating men that facial skin can get flaky when hidden beneath a beard. Clinique for Men 2 in 1 Skin Hydrator + Beard Conditioner claims to deliver effects to enable “easier grooming.” Meanwhile, L’Oreal Paris Men Expert offer Hydra Energetic Skin and Stubble face wash and moisturizing gel.
“These innovations exemplify the adoption of the concept of beard care by large multinationals, as compared with niche brands, demonstrating sophistication and premiumization in the male grooming category,” stated GlobalData’s Neophytou.
Beyond the Beard
Product innovation is also rife in other more unexpected areas. The new Zoya Men’s Nail Perfecting Kit has been launched under the Zoya NM Naked Manicure brand name. This approach targets gender specific shoppers.
Tattoo care is a bold initiative to attract the modern man, for whom tattoos are part of their identity. But it also fits with a growing trend among men for selfies featuring their gym-toned bodies. Captain Fawcett Tattoo After Care Salve contains a blend of rice bran, coconut and sweet almond oils, shea butter and botanical extracts of flame tree and snake vine, traditionally used by Aboriginals for their powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. L’Oréal Paris Men Expert hopes to corner the market in tattoo care with its Hydra Energetic Tattoo Reviver Cream, a creatine-based formulation designed to prevent ink fade and contour blurring.
The main target for men’s product innovation is millennials, who are most open to new products and sophisticated routines. According to GlobalData’s 2014 Global Survey, European millennials lead the way as the age group that uses facial skin care products most often, with 21% using them daily or almost every day.
“While unsurprisingly, millennials are the most appearance-conscious age group among European men, appearance consciousness is generally high across the board,” affirms Neophytou. “Brands are recognizing this expansion of interest throughout the age demographics with the release of more premium male grooming offerings, broadening consumer appeal among a range of age cohorts.”
So, could these developments be the beginning of a revolution in male grooming product usage? The signs are positive and suggest that younger men, at least, are more comfortable with using products traditionally associated with female beauty. Maybelline hired social media influencer Manny Gutierrez as its first male face for its mascaras, while CoverGirl named James Charles as its first cover guy. For many men, full makeup is still a step too far, but shrewd marketing could set this trend in motion.
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: +44 1865 764918
Imogen Matthews is a respected consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April, she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.