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As the Modern Male Consumer Evolves, So Must His Packaging

Contact Author Alexander Kwapis
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Once branded as a niche market segment, male grooming has undeniably gone mainstream. For the first time in history, men’s toiletries outperformed shave-centric products, resulting in new product line expansions and marketing strategies for brands. The lines between “macho” and “metro” have blurred, and male consumers are more comfortable than ever introducing once-taboo products to their daily routines —such as serums, eye creams and exfoliators. With predictions that the men’s grooming and personal care market, already valued in the billions, will continue to grow (see Manscaping and Subscriptions: New Paradigms in Facial Hair), brands and packaging suppliers are taking notice.

Changing Attitudes, New Regimes

Shaving has always been a universally shared male experience, and, as such, products tailored to this area of men’s grooming consistently dominated the retail space. However, attitudes towards grooming have shifted, and roughly one third of male consumers now spend over half an hour each day on personal care, according to Euromonitor International. Through its own research, Fusion Packaging noticed behavioral changes in the way male consumers used their products at home. Men and women under the same roof are combating limited counter and shower space by sharing products in their daily routines.

As such, pioneering men’s grooming companies like Anthony Brands are tuning into this trend and rethinking how they market products. Fusion Packaging worked with this brand to develop premium, gender-neutral packaging for the launch of the High Performance line using the versatile Tru Collection. Because it was important that the results-driven products be easily understood by both men and women, smoky black and silver accents were used to give the packages a sophisticated, unisex appeal.

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The Union of Form and Functionv The male grooming market recently experienced the rise of the “lumbersexual,” an ultra-masculine yet meticulously maintained grooming style for men, featuring full beards and trim moustaches. The key to this trend is defined by making an effort in one’s personal appearance without looking the part. These men are rugged but never unkempt.

While humorous in spirit, the popularity of this bearded breed of man has opened new doors for personal care product expansions. Exfoliators are marketed as beneficial pre-shave products, as they remove dead skin cells and allow for a smoother shave. After-shave serums and treatments absorb quickly to help soothe skin and prevent redness and annoying ingrown hairs. Direct applicators have also become more commonplace for eye and lip care products for men. Fusion Packaging recently launched the Direct Effect applicator collection, which delivers clean, convenient application with added sensorial product benefits—such as massaging and cooling effects to help products better penetrate the skin.

Simple and Systematic Appeal

While many men are becoming more adventurous with new product trials, research still shows that simple is key for their daily routines. Male shoppers are drawn to clean, easy-to-use packaging with clear instructions. Brands are adopting these 1-2-3 routines, which often include a pre-shave cleanser or exfoliator, shaving gel or cream and an after-care lotion or serum. Formulas for men tend to be lighter and are quicker to absorb, which again appeals to this apply-and-go mentality.

In its research, Fusion noticed male consumers in the Asian markets were early adopters of these types of new product categories, since skin care and cosmetics are more openly accepted culturally. This $13 billion market continues to be a global driver in sales for the men’s personal care industry.

Due to greater disposable incomes and increased importance on personal appearance, the U.S. men’s grooming market continues to grow. We are seeing packaging decoration for products catered to men adopting new hues outside of traditional black and white, such as cool blues, powerful reds and slate grays. These subtle color diversions help set brands apart and make their own space in the ever-growing grooming arena.

And the ability of packaging suppliers to cater to brands developing new or expanding product lines that capitalize on emerging trends is critical. It is also key to have flexibility in building packaging strategies to meet evolving needs—for example packaging families, such as those offered by Fusion, offer a variety of sizes and styles with a shared aesthetic, allowing product developers to build complete lines using mix-and-match bottles, jars, airless tubes and direct applicators.

Alexander Kwapis is the creative director with Fusion Packaging.

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