Beauty biz cash in on men

Updated on Aug 13, 2007 02:17 PM IST

Cosmetic companies in India are making hay with an increasing number of men thronging saloons for beauty treatments.

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PTI | BySnehesh Alex Philip, New Delhi

With an increasing number of men thronging saloons for variety of beauty treatments such as manicures, pedicures and getting facials among other beauty enhancing techniques, cosmetic companies are now targeting the 'untapped' market for their products, men.

"We started out because as per our research, there was indeed a great demand for male fairness cream. The market share of our cream is about 20 per cent. Since, the overall fairness cream market is about Rs 275 crore, it means that a large amount of men are still using the fairness cream meant for girls," says Mohan Goenka, Director, Emami Group, who were the first to launch an exclusive fairness cream for men.

"The market for men cosmetics is growing in India," he adds while pointing out the company is all set to launch 18 new products in the next one year of which nearly eight would be meant exclusively for men.

As part of its aggressive campaign to tap into the men cosmetics market, the company has also signed up Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan to endorse its fairness cream. It is not only the fairness creams that men are buying.

But, a growing segment of men are buying all products ranging from body lotions to wrinkle free creams.

"All our cosmetic products are positioned in such a way that both sexes can use them. Earlier men use to constitute only 20 per cent of our cosmetic clients but now they have grown to 35 per cent," says Rajat Banerji, Amway, one of the largest direct selling FMCG companies in the world.

"Men are becoming more conscious of looks and hence have turned out to be a huge market for FMCG companies like us," he adds, pointing out that their fairness and age defying products costing between Rs 1,899 to Rs 9,999 are popular among men".

"According to industry estimates, the skincare market in India has been growing at 16 per cent annually and is currently valued at Rs 2,100 crore".

The latest entrant to this sector is an international brand of skincare product, which has signed up a former beauty queen to promote it. "Our target is not just the women but also men," said a senior executive of the company. So, are Indian men really becoming more conscious of their looks or is it just a hype since, products mean exclusively for men are just limited to fairness creams?"

"With each passing day, there are more and more men visiting us for various regular beauty services and weight management programmes. Most popular treatments amongst men are regular beauty services, which include waxing, threading, manicures, pedicures, facials, hair styling and other personal care treatment."

"These days men are not shy about trying new things that can enhance their looks," says Shobha Sehgal, Chief Technical Officer, Beauty Services, VLCC, which has one of the countries largest chain of beauty and weight loss saloons in the country. She adds that men constitute nearly half of their clientele if not more".

While ad agencies are now concentrating on churning out ads of cosmetic companies positioning it in such a way that it appeals both the sexes, they do agree that the turning point was when Shahrukh Khan himself endorsed a beauty soap which till then was endorsed by only beauty queens.

"The ad showcased the actor in a tub attributing his beauty to the soap while been flanked by Hema Malini, Juhi Chawla, Kareena and Sridevi. It really brought out the metrosexual men into the dining room of everyone," says Mayank Kapoor, an executive working with an ad agency in the capital. Not only are men using cosmetic products but are even increasingly going under knife to enhance their beauty.

"Number of men who now come for surgeries to notch up their beauty quotient has been increasing. They usually come in for their nose and ear job to hair transplant or liposuction (reducing weight surgically). But now, an increasingly number of grown up boys (19-23) come in for surgeries meant to reduce what one would call 'men breasts'," says Dr R K Seth, Senior Consultant, Cosmetic Surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi.

He adds, "One can say that nowadays men are becoming a little more conscious of their looks." "Men, as a market for cosmetic product is still to be tapped completely. The sector is growing on a daily basis," says Goenka.

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