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The Sleeping Giant

By: Imogen Matthews
Posted: February 1, 2012, from the January 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

Men’s toiletries is one of the fastest-growing categories in beauty and personal care, trebling in value between 1997 and 2011, according to Euromonitor International (Editor’s note: Read “A New Pampering Culture Fuels Opportunity in Men’s Grooming”). Despite impressive growth, the category still lags behind the women’s beauty market and will probably never catch up.

Also according to Euromonitor, however, sales are set to rise due to changing male attitudes about grooming and a shift in key emerging regions away from manual work toward white collar jobs.

The recent recession has also benefited sales of men’s products. A common tactic for brand owners has been to diversify product ranges into categories that offer better opportunities. Men’s toiletries has been tipped by the multinationals as being relatively resilient to trading down during the recession and having strong future growth potential. Unilever, for example, expanded its female Dove toiletries brand into men’s grooming in 2010—introducing Dove Men + Care in the U.S., Italy and the U.K. Meanwhile, P&G launched Gillette Fusion ProSeries men’s skin care, targeting the growing demographic of young, image-conscious men.

Not All Regions Equal

Sales of men’s brands are highest in the U.S., which registered a 17% share of the global market in 2011, but growth has slowed as the recession took its toll. By contrast, strong sales in France, Germany and the U.K. are expected to add an additional $800 million by 2014—as European men move beyond basic products, such as razors and blades, to more sophisticated grooming regimens incorporating skin care and post-shave products.

Penetration of men’s toiletries is far lower in emerging regions—per capita spend is less than $7 per year in most parts of the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia. However, the developing markets are helping to drive global growth. Some regions—such as Latin America, the Middle East and Africa—are posting double-digit increases. Brazil is a market many companies have their eyes on, although it must be said that sales of men’s skin care and bath and shower are both negligible, as there is a strong machismo culture. Brazilian men still tend to opt for traditional male products, but rapidly rising incomes should help men’s grooming brands to gain a foothold in the country.

Taking on the Big Boys