September 9, 2010
Not just for metrosexuals: Using brawn to market beauty in a hot category
2010 marks the biggest influx of personal care products for men to store shelves—and guys, especially younger ones, seem to be embracing them. According to surveys by both the National Retail Federation and Alloy, this year American college-age men will outspend women in personal care items (as well as other traditional “female” categories such as clothing and dorm décor). Euromonitor data shows that American spending on men’s grooming products doubled between 1997 and 2009, from $2.4 billion to $4.8 billion, with sales in the men’s skin care segment increasing fivefold in that time frame.
The phenomenon appears to be a global one. In China, Euromonitor reports, the men’s grooming category was the most “dynamic” segment of the beauty and personal care category last year. L’Oreal reported global growth of 30 percent for its men’s line in the first half of 2010 and believes the segment “has huge future potential.” And a recent survey of 3,000 British men found that on average, 18-35-year-old men are outspending their female counterparts to look good.
To extend the appeal of this category beyond the metrosexual cohort, marketers have started relying on gruff to market grooming (tapping into what some have called a “Menaissance”). It seems that selling beauty through brawn eases men’s concerns about compromising their masculinity. Take Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”—with the help of actor Isaiah Mustafa, the brand boosted sales of its men’s body wash by 107 percent in mid-June and by 100 percent in mid-July. Another example of the new macho man is Mad Men’s Don Draper, to whose side brands from Gillette to Clearasil have flocked for product placement.
It will be interesting to see how marketing to men’s vanity evolves. Diagonal Reports notes that “Most men are determinedly not ‘metrosexual,’” while The New York Times observes that “men use cosmetic products in order to cover up or correct imperfections, not to enhance beauty.” Synovate suggests that increased attention to grooming may result from men’s weakening control over other aspects of their lives, especially in a downturn. But it looks like men will keep buying these products, regardless of the economy. Manufacturers are looking to the Middle East and Asia as two key markets for growth.
Photo credit: Katiya (Singhing again)