Sector Insight: Men's Toiletries - Altered Image

Article excerpt

Toiletries brands are capitalising as male-grooming continues its shift toward the mainstream.

THE BACKGROUND

With this summer's World Cup fast approaching, brands such as Gillette, Nivea, Brylcreem and L'Oreal are sizing up the promotional opportunities offered by the tournament to convince British males that it really has become manly to primp, preen and moisturise. Activities ranging from celebrity endorsements by star footballers such as David Beckham, the epitome of metrosexuality, to a clutch of online games, are intended to fuel the continued growth of the men's toiletries sector, whose value is predicted to rise 14% by 2010.

[BX] Although grooming is no longer an alien concept to many young men and the number of toiletries aimed at them has grown, the market has not boomed in quite the way that some expected.

Men are taking more of an interest in their appearance, as reflected in the rise of men's magazines and dedicated fashion pages. But while shaving, hair-styling and deodorising are now part of the regular morning ritual for many, their use of grooming products still falls far short of women's.

Last year the men's toiletries market was worth pounds 751m, according to Mintel, an increase of 28% on 2000. Fragrances account for the biggest share with 44%, followed by deodorants with 12%, and shaving-preparation products with 10%. Skincare and haircare products have a share of just 6% each, but are the areas experiencing the biggest growth.

While brands have sought to persuade men to view grooming as important to their image, women are most likely to buy the products, with 75% purchasing men's toiletries for the household, according to BMRB. Just 39% of men buy the products for themselves; those aged 24 and under are more likely to be involved in the purchasing process.

Youth appeal

As with many sectors, the falling birth rate will eventually have an impact. However, between 2000 and 2005, there was an increase in 15- to 24-year-old men - a key target group.

Many boys use men's toiletries before they reach their teens. Of 11- to 14-year-old boys, 77% use shower gel, while 83% of 11- to 12-year olds use deodorant, according to Mintel, so brands can seek to instil loyalty at an early stage.

The men's market has made extensive use of celebrity endorsement. David Beckham, who has promoted both Brylcreem and Gillette, has been credited in large part with making it acceptable for men to take care of their appearance.

Rugby stars Gavin Henson and Jonny Wilkinson, meanwhile, are the faces of Gillette and Hackett men's grooming respectively. Sporting ties are popular in the sector, whether via celebrities or sports-specific products aimed at active men, or those who aspire to be.

Many men still view grooming products predominantly as a way to stay clean, rather than on the basis of their added functional benefits, such as toning or anti-ageing. Manufacturers are therefore becoming attuned to the type of language needed to appeal to men. While they fail to relate to words such as 'moisturiser' or 'exfoliator', labels such as 'skin protectors' and 'skin improvers' have proved more effective.

The multinationals dominate the market, with Unilever and Gillette accounting for 58% of the market. But there have been changes in ownership, with Procter & Gamble buying Gillette, and Unilever selling its Calvin Klein franchise to Coty.

Unilever Home & Personal Care's key brands are Lynx and Sure For Men.

Lynx is the leading men's toiletries brand in the UK. Its advertising, based on a 'Lynx effect' theme, suggests that men who use its products are irresistible to women. Each year Unilever seeks to maintain interest by adding fragrances to the range, which is most popular among pre-teens.

Most recently, its Click variant was backed by TV ads showing Hollywood star Ben Affleck totting up the admiring looks he receives from women, only to be pipped by a Lynx-wearing geek. …

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