Sector Insight: Men's Toiletries - Skincare Leads the Way

Marketing, July 23, 2008 | Go to article overview
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Sector Insight: Men's Toiletries - Skincare Leads the Way

Male-grooming routines are on the rise, but there remains substantial room for development.


Men's toiletries emerged when the cosmetic giants tuned in to the idea that in focusing their efforts on products designed to appeal to women, they were leaving half their potential market untapped. Accordingly, a wave of brands hit the shelves, specifically targeting men. Over the past few years, the media has hailed the rise of the 'metrosexual' as David Beckham's groomed and buffed features dominated the billboards; more recently, 'menaissance man' has been adopted as a moniker more appropriate for British men who have yet to fully embrace moisturising.

This sector has experienced steady growth over the past few years, but has not taken off with the vigour that manufacturers would have hoped for.

Many sporting heroes may have been willing to promote the idea of grooming and pampering, but there have been just as many male celebrities, such as Russell Brand, opting for a more dishevelled, devil-may-care look. However, while it may seem that three days of stubble and 'bedhead' hair is unlikely to lead to mass purchases of skin balm and hair gel, it can take a lot of effort and, particularly, hair product to achieve the desired look.

Young men, the most obvious target group, tend to be more willing to experiment with products, but the over-45s are less easily converted to a new regime and are still mostly ignored by the big brands. In general, men are more interested in the clothes element of grooming.

In 2007 men's toiletries (excluding shaving products) reached a value of pounds 806m. Most men still need convincing of the merits of skincare, with only pounds 57m spent on moisturisers, cleansers and facial scrubs. This compares with pounds 602m spent on these categories by women, according to Mintel.

Fragrance accounts for 43% of total sales in this sector; of the pounds 356m this represents, premium brands account for about 70%.

While women eagerly share tips on grooming and favourite products, men are less inclined to discuss such things, giving little opportunity for word-of-mouth recommendations, but web forums and social networking sites offer a possible substitute. Online toiletries retailer has a forum, for example, where men can ask advice incognito, reducing their embarrassment.

Men's magazines and lifestyle titles go some way toward building knowledge and introducing products. In most cases editorial is dedicated to this subject, especially in titles aimed at young men.

Actors and sports stars are particular favourites to endorse men's fragrances and toiletries. Recent campaigns include Clive Owen for Lancome Homme and Roger Federer, Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry for Gillette.

While men will seek out and buy male-targeted fragrances and shaving products, they will often borrow other toiletries such as hair and skincare items. Haircare products tend to be gender-neutral, while men unsure of skincare regimes may more readily try a product bought by their girlfriend or wife before purchasing something for themselves.

Men are often attracted to products that provide a specific solution to a problem, such as scrubs for acne. Similarly, they like products that have data to back up their claimed benefits.

Unilever and Gillette lead the pack in this sector, but Beiersdorf and L'Oreal are building share, particularly with their respective Nivea for Men and L'Oreal Men Expert brands. This can be a tough category to break into because of the difficulty of gaining listings due to the tight grip of the big brands.

Unilever's key brands in this market are Lynx and Sure for Men, which it continually refreshes with NPD. Lynx's most recent development has been Lynx 3, a two-can spray that creates a third 'custom' fragrance when used together. Lynx is aimed at younger men, as shown by its tongue-in-cheek advertising, while Sure for Men appeals to the over-25s with a performance-focused positioning.

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Sector Insight: Men's Toiletries - Skincare Leads the Way


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