Bloke’s grooming: Cosmetics and toiletries for men Downunder, by Euromonitor International
Making too much of the rise of the metrosexual male could take the boom out of men's grooming in Australasia.
Grooming for men is becoming big business in Australia and New Zealand, where an average of US$29 was spent per head of the male population last year on products including razors, hair gels, body washes and deodorants. This figure is not far behind the US$31 average for males in the US, the world's most developed men's grooming market, and mirrors a trend that has become a major driver of cosmetics and toiletries sales growth across the globe.
Credited with men's newfound involvement in the beauty market is the rise of metrosexuality, a consciousness of image and appearance that is driving many affluent young city dwelling males to experiment with products traditionally reserved for women. However, this explanation does not tell the whole story and there is a danger that manufacturers will miss out on opportunities by forgetting who their consumer core really is in a region where the bloke's bloke still reigns supreme.
Sales of men's grooming products reached A$374 million (US$288 million) in Australia last year and NZ$80 million (US$57 million) in New Zealand, increases of 46% and 54% respectively on 2001 figures. Yet this dynamism is only partly attributed to an increase in the amount of products men are using; mostly it is a result of a shift away from unisex brands in favour of more expensive male-specific varieties. Deodorant and men's shaving products, particularly razors and blades, have always been essential to men's daily grooming routines. In 2005, combined sales of these two sectors accounted for over 91% of the total men's grooming products category.
The demography of the region also hints at a consumer core that is more macho-sexual than metrosexual. Both Australia and New Zealand have significant rural populations and agriculture remains a major industry for many of the region's men. With national sports including rugby union and league, it is strength and speed that many males admire and aspire to have, not smooth skin or trendy hair.
Real men moisturise
That is not to say the less well established men's grooming sectors will never find favour in Australasia. It is just that in encouraging uptake, manufacturers must appeal as much, or if not more, to the macho male as to the metrosexual. The key is to create simple, fuss-free routines with products that have a clear purpose and a visible benefit. Beiersdorf's Nivea for Men has been credited with kick-starting the male facial regime since its launch into New Zealand in 2005 thanks to its range of no-frills functional offerings. Now that men became comfortable with the basic product line, Nivea has begun rolling out more sophisticated lines, such as oil control and the sensitive range.
Extending a brand that already has an established male following will also help. Men are more brand-conscious than women and are likely to be less intimidated by a product label they are already familiar with. Rexona did exactly that when it leveraged its reputation in deodorants to launch into skin care with Rexona Essentials for Men, including an aftershave balm and face wash. The Unilever brand also launched a savvy marketing campaign featuring the New Zealand Cricket Captain Stephen Fleming – a man's man men could trust.
Another possibility would be to sell a full line of products together in a grooming kit. By bundling the three-step cleanse/tone/moisturise facial routine for example, or creating an all-in-one shaving kit that includes pre- and post-shave products as well as a razor and aftershave fragrance, it would both build brand loyalty and help entrench the notion of a daily grooming regime among men.
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