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How much grooming could a man need?

business Updated: Feb 28, 2008 22:40 IST
Saurabh Turakhia
Saurabh Turakhia
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Fairness creams, facial care products, hair gels and creams, after shower gels, in addition to an expanding basket of shaving systems and the regular deodorants… Is there really a market for so many products targeted specifically at men? Major players including Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUL), Emami, L’Oreal, Marico and Elder Healthcare seem to believe there is a market, though they all agree that the current size is small – it’s early days yet, they say.

Anand Shah, a FMCG analyst with Angel Broking says, “The overall skin care market is worth Rs 2,500 crore. However, the male grooming market cannot be bigger than Rs 200 crore as of now.”

Maybe, agree the men’s grooming product marketers, but the scope for growth is there. As an HUL spokesperson says, “From what were hole-in-the-corner barber shops, today slick beauty salons have sprung up in Ferozepur, Jamshedpur, Guwahati and Cochin, where men unwind while getting a facial and manicure done. In malls, men spend time on selecting personal grooming products. They understand the need for getting clearer skin, the season’s favourite clothing and the right amount of exercise at the gym.”

The spokesperson adds that at home, men’s potions and lotions vie for space on the dressing table. Men like to improve their personal appearance and they are taking pains to get what they want.

“This is the advent of the all-round alpha male! Cosmetologists and beauty therapists for men recommend male grooming products while corporate-owned salons and beauty shops for men are doing brisk business.” So HUL extended its Fair & Lovely fairness cream’s proposition to its Menz Active version, and has even split hairs with Clinic All Clear for men as a special variant.

HUL’s Menz Active fairness cream was launched after Emami launched Fair & Handsome fairness cream for men. Emami is focusing on the product seriously.

Harsh Vardhan Agarwal, director, Emami group, says, “In our estimates, the male fairness cream market is worth Rs 100 crore, of which Fair & Handsome has a 60 per cent market share.” Emami is putting more weight behind Fair & Handsome than Emami Naturally Fair for women. Agarwal explains, “The female fairness cream market is overcrowded. The male fairness segment offers differentiation.”

Anuj Saxena, MD, Elder Healthcare, says, “As the booming economy brings an increasing numbers of younger consumers with higher disposable incomes into play, demand for men’s grooming is expected to grow at a faster pace. Key triggers for purchase would include social acceptability as the main trigger, expendable incomes, availability of international men's grooming products, and influence of modern trade.”

Elder already has a fairness cream and soap under Fair One, under license from Shahnaz Hussein, and has launched Fair One Man in August 2007. Extending its presence in men’s grooming, Elder will soon launch the Fuel for Men range including deodorants, after shave balm, shaving gel and hair gel, in association with VLCC.

Sameer Satpathy, head - marketing, wellness and new products, Marico, says, “There are a few consumer insights that have led to the birth of the male grooming market. Since socially, women are becoming more empowered, men too need to grow and just having a job is not enough. Moreover, with the increase of white-collar jobs, the importance of dressing well has also increased. Also, rising incomes have caused a natural demand for male grooming products.”

Marico has extended its brand Parachute to the male grooming space with its Parachute after shower hair cream and gel. Satpathy says that the hair and cream gel market for men is worth Rs 70 to Rs 80 crore. He adds that the Parachute Advansed After Shower hair cream and gel fetches a revenue of around Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore a year, growing at 18-20 per cent.Nivea’s marketing head, Soma Ghosh, is optimistic: “The Indian male grooming market is estimated to be Rs 750 crore and is growing at 12 per cent. The biggest segment is shaving preparations, growing at four per cent. Other leading segments are deodorants – growing at about 40 per cent per annum – and face care creams, growing at about 20 per cent annually. Hair styling – including hair gels and creams – is also an emerging category.”

Although there is much optimism on men’s grooming, all marketers agree that the segment is still nascent. And that a lot of work will need to be done to grow it. Satpathy says that there is a need to create an effective imagery in order to succeed. Adding star power to Parachute’s communication through brand ambassadors Yuvraj Singh and Sreesanth has managed to deliver good results, he says. Emami, on its part, managed to get Shah Rukh Khan to endorse its fairness cream. Not to forget MS Dhoni and Brylcreem. Advertising messaging for men’s grooming products currently attempt to create glamour and differentiation.

Men’s grooming products will continue to see serious marketing efforts as FMCG marketers try to grow sales through new consumer segmenting with specific propositions. That the young consumer is more open to the idea is good news.