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Men’s Grooming Booming

By: Carrie Lennard, Euromonitor International
Posted: November 9, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The functionality and ingredients of male-specific products, in reality, are almost identical to the general versions; the difference is in the packaging and the way the products are marketed. The color of men’s grooming products is crucial for success in the market—most of the leading brands such as Nivea for Men and Gillette stick to traditionally male colors such as blue, white and silver.

U.S. Remains Largest Single Market

With sales of $4.7 billion, the U.S. is by far the largest single market for men’s care, and has nearly doubled in value size during the past 10 years, rising from around $2.7 billion in 1999, according to Euromonitor International. Many male grooming brands that have been present in Western Europe for many years, such as Axe, have recently moved into the U.S. market, and this has helped grow acceptance of European concepts of male grooming among American men.

The Japanese male grooming market is the largest in Asia—five times bigger than China’s, despite the latter’s much larger population while its disposable income remains only a third lower. The difference is largely due to the strong acceptance of male grooming habits in Japan, and male-only beauty stores/salons are commonplace in the country.

Western Europe Dominates Regional Sales

The men’s market in Western Europe was worth an impressive $8.5 billion in 2008, accounting for a total of 31% of the global men’s market segment and far surpassing even nearest rival North America. The French, German and U.K. markets alone comprise more than 50% of all value sales in men’s lines in Western Europe, but all three are now showing signs of stagnation and maturity, as emerging regions continue to grow. Slow growth in developed markets was partially offset by vibrant sales in emerging regions—particularly Eastern Europe and Latin America. Both regions saw double-digit growth across all categories of the industry because their economies were yet to feel the impact of the recession—and also because the men’s grooming markets there are yet to reach the levels of maturity seen in the West. Indeed, the size of the men’s hair care market in Latin America has already overtaken that of Western Europe, largely thanks to a wealth of new product launches in male shampoos, mainly from major players in the region such as Grupo Bertin.

The real untapped territory for men’s grooming is in the Middle East and Africa. Despite having a combined population of more than one billion, the regions account for a mere 4% of the global men’s market with a value size of $747 million. These regions are among the hardest for manufacturers of men’s lines to penetrate, as consumers’ attitudes to male grooming are highly traditional and, therefore, currently confines sales to basic products.

BRIC Nations Crucial for Growth