Men’s toiletries come of age

Vanity, thy name is no longer woman, according to a new report which shows that the male toiletries sector is growing by leaps and bounds.

According to a Euromonitor report – Men’s Toiletries: The International Market – sales of men’s toiletries products have risen by 21 per cent over the period 1994 to 1998, the highest growth registered in any of the seven countries studied.

At constant 1994 prices, British men spent 467m on “male-specific” body and haircare products in 1998, compared with 385m in 1994. And at current prices, 1998 sales were 528.3m.

The male-specific sector of the overall toiletries market was the main area for growth, although the haircare market, where there has been little focus on male specific products, actually fell by four per cent in value terms over the review period.

By contrast, razors and blades sales increased by 46 per cent, driven almost entirely by new product introductions. Shaving products, which includes razors and blades, took 53.8 per cent of the men’s toiletries market by value in 1998.

The market for men’s toiletries is highly concentrated. Gillette is the leading manufacturer, accounting for 35 per cent of all sales. The launch of the company’s Mach 3 razor in 1998 – the first triple bladed razor system – boosted demand from younger shavers for premium products that provide a closer and more effective shave, and helped the whole market to grow. In response to the growing popularity of wet shaving, companies extended their range of wet shaving products. Pre-shave preparations were joined by post-shave conditioners and moisturisers.

The report also shows that it is the younger male consumers who respond better to products which are marketed as having skin protection capabilities. Euromonitor suggests this is at least in part due to the popularity of men’s lifestyle magazines such as FHM and Loaded. Toiletries companies have latched on to these titles, using them as effective channels to encourage younger males to trade up from cheaper own- label products to branded grooming ranges.

Another factor has been the positioning of grooming products as part of a whole “shaving regime”, which has helped to make post-shave products more acceptable.

All other sectors (all male toiletries apart from shaving) took 46.2 per cent of the market, and had a much slower rate of value growth due to the lower unit value of the products and the greater attention men are paying to their faces rather than their bodies.

However, young men have become noticeably more confident about buying body care products for themselves, including body sprays and shower gels. Haircare for men, however, was stagnant, with the major manufacturers staying out of the sector because they were sceptical of their ability to take on major unisex brands effectively.

But the lack of growth in haircare may be a thing of the past, with the launch during 1998 of the first male-specific hair brand, Nicky Clark Men. The range, with vitamins, proteins and plant extracts which it claims “actively feed and nourish” male hair, should kick-start demand among younger males.

Although Gillette is the leading manufacturer, the leading brand in male toiletries is Elida Fabergé’s Lynx, which dominates the male body care sector with its strong brand image and competitive price.

It remains to be seen whether Insignia, acquired by Dana UK in 1997 from Procter & Gamble, when it was repackaged and relaunched, will succeed in its objective of wresting away control of the 11- to 19-year-old age range.

Most of the other leading brands in the market are limited to the shaving sector, where Gillette shows its true strength. It has at least one brand in each of the different subsectors, providing the consumer with an entire grooming range.

The only other shaving brand with strong consumer loyalty is Wilkinson Sword, which made a considerable impact with its Protector and FX Performer advanced wet shave systems and its extended Protector brand wet shave toiletries products, such as Protector Gel. Another new entrant to the male wet shaving sector was Beiersdorff, which launched Nivea For Men to address issues such as tightness, dryness and irritation.

Other non-toiletries brands are also entering the shaving market, for example clothing designer Ted Baker has introduced a skincare range.

Pharmacies and drugstores are the main distribution channel for men’s toiletries, taking 42.6 per cent of the market by value. Grocery outlets were close behind, with 40.8 per cent by retail sales.

Euromonitor predicts that the male toiletries market will grow by about 25 per cent over the next five years in the UK, with similar growth in France, Spain and Italy.

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