Half a decade ago, when Shah Rukh Khan took a dip in a bathtub to endorse Lux, he did much more than just endorse a soap brand. He set a precedent.
Back then, the male grooming market was almost non-existent and the Indian market had few dedicated products to
Advertising has ensured that men's desire to look good is out in the open. When Shah Rukh Khan was first seen in a rose-petal strewn bathtub for Lux, it became top conversation material across all circuits — home, office, party, pub. While the ad was not meant to convey that Lux should be used by men, its brand recall shot up overnight.
Emami's Fair & Handsome "Hi handsome" ad brought the distinction of a fairness cream for men out, with the message saying that women's fairness creams are no good on men's tougher skin. The man using the cream was advised accordingly by Khan.
And now celebrities have no problem talking fairness openly. So Bollywood hunk John Abraham promotes Garnier's skin lightening cream in a direct ‘believe what you see' message, while HUL's Fair & Lovely's MAXFairness cream gets its user a coveted job! And the other Bollywood metrosexual idol, Shahid Kapoor, is very comfortable talking about lightening up dark spots on the skin for Vaseline's fairness cream.
Soon after Khan's commercial, Emami Group entered the men's fairness cream market. Market talk was that a noticeable proportion of sales of Fair & Lovely, a women's cream, were coming from men. Emami decided to push the opportunity, the rest followed. The market was soon offering males fairness creams, haircare products beyond dyes, scrubs and face washes. Today, the male grooming segment in personal care is ready for its next round of product expansions and additions.
Emami entered the men's fairness cream segment in 2005 with the launch of Fair & Handsome, which still dominates the space with close to 70 per cent share. In 2007, Hindustan Unilever launched Fair & Lovely Menz Active but it could not gather much share. Over the past year, multinationals such as Beiersdorf (Nivea for Men) and L'Oreal (Garnier PowerLight) launched a slew of products for men's skin care.
While the overall cosmetics industry is growing at 15 per cent year-on-year, fairness creams constitute a huge market with sales worth nearly Rs 2,000 crore (Nielsen 2010 figures). Of this, men's fairness creams account for 10 per cent, though growing at 30 per cent year-on-year — a sign that they're catching on. According to a Nielsen survey conducted amongst 1,000 SEC A and B men in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad on male grooming, every second man has a monthly date with a salon.
"The importance of male grooming is clear, with the market worth Rs 695 crore and growing at 11 per cent. In metros alone, it is growing at 12 per cent. The product segments witnessing significant growth include creams, gels, deodorants. Several beauty products targeting men were launched in recent years. Increasing disposable incomes, urbanisation and greater exposure to the West are the main drivers," said Anand Ramanathan, analyst, KPMG.
In the personal care category, skincare products are the most sought, giving significant head room for growth. In India, fairness creams dominate the space with over a 45 per cent share, followed by moisturisers at 22 per cent. Now, the market is looking beyond fairness creams.
Emami is looking at product additions to expand its Fair and Handsome brand to include products such as shaving cream and foam by the year-end. In five years, Fair and Handsome has become a Rs 100 crore brand, growing at 45 per cent per annum and contributing 15 per cent to Emami's revenues.
"The trend is shifting towards the mainstream and there are other brands entering the segment with extensive product launches in the fairness category, along with a number of product extensions," said Harsh Vardhan Agarwal, director, Emami.
Hindustan Unilever is currently advertising Fair & Lovely MAXFairness for Men. It has also extended its Vaseline brand to the men's grooming segment with the introduction of the Vaseline for Men skincare range, including fairness creams, face wash, body lotions and body washes. The popularity of fairness products saw Garnier launch its men's grooming range, Powerlight, in May 2009. Recently, it launched Garnier Color Naturals for Men and the Garnier Men range of deodorants.
"Inspired by the changing grooming behaviour of Indian men, in May 2009 we entered the men's grooming market with Garnier Men. Within three months, Garnier Men became the number two player in the men's skincare market, which is currently less than five per cent of the total skincare market but growing fast. Within that, fairness comprises 85 per cent, cleansing 10 per cent, body and sun care and hydration 1 per cent each. The potential lies in converting male users of women's skincare products to products developed specifically for them," said Dinesh Dayal, chief operating officer, L'Oreal India.
Hair grooming and styling are the latest growth area. Brylcreem, which scaled up its appeal though products and advertising featuring M.S. Dhoni, has company in the form of Marico's after-shower hair gel, Set Wet from Paras Pharma and the Gatsby brand. Zydus Cadila recently forayed into male skincare with EverYuth Menz, under which the company launched the first scrub for men in India. Besides the scrub, the Ever Yuth skin care range comprises face washes, sun block and moisturiser for men.
Experts said the men's grooming market is expected to grow thanks to the young population and rising middle-class.
Future Group is looking to extend its John Miller brand into the male grooming segment, where it forayed with deodorants. "Growth is coming not just from metros but small towns too," said Devendra Chawla, business head, private brands, Future Group.