Connect Search take a look at the growth and potential of the global men's personal care market.

The men’s personal care market is expected to hit $166bn in 2022, according to Allied Market Research, offering potentially huge opportunities for growth in the beauty sector.

However, despite this forecasted growth, men’s personal care is a complex market with a range of challenges to be tackled. Some of them can be closely compared to the market for female beauty products, whilst others are rooted in the specific characteristics of largely untapped elements of the male market.

Key opportunities

Generally, the men’s market has been underserved and this has resulted in a smaller range of products, less innovation and less focus on specific men’s issues. Even so, the market grew by in 2019 to a total of $53.6bn across all regions, led by Asia Pacific.

One of the greater challenges in men’s personal care is the demographic of men aged over 55. They are the least engaged consumers when it comes to skin and haircare products. The challenge is how to sell to this market and convince them to change their daily habits! This demographic is often limiting themselves to traditional shaving products & deodorants – when there is so much more to discover.

In addition, many are still uneasy with descriptions such as “beauty range” referring to products, so marketing, packaging and branding of men’s “grooming” ranges must strike a fine balance in design and advertising so as not to turn the male consumer off with the femininity of names or slender, delicate bottles.

Whilst growth in the older category is therefore not straightforward, there are some clear opportunities for growth. For example, nearly 40% of adults aged 18-22 have shown interest in gender neutral beauty products, an area in which demand seems to be growing across multiple consumer sectors.

Personal care routines are also becoming more personalised for many – this needs to be matched by the diversity of products available and the clarity of marketing messages. Young men are becoming more aware of self-grooming, body image and hygiene due to social media, and this channel (and the ever-growing band of influencers) will continue to play a significant role.

Following the lead of the female market

Lessons can be learned from growth in female personal care products. Whilst gender neutral products have shown growing interest levels, there remains a need for consumers to feel they are being directly spoken to and not just offered generic one size fits all products.

Forward thinking companies are starting to address specific issues for men, including mental health and supporting men’s charities in the same way that businesses such as Avon and L’Oréal have done for years.

However, creating desire, exclusivity, value and personalisation through effective marketing can be a minefield. There is a transition in how men define themselves and masculinity and therefore how they might be attracted to personal care products and the messages they deliver, but this is a journey and poses risks in changing marketing approaches too quickly. What we do know is that brands are more likely to see success if they appeal directly to specific issues and to men as a dedicated audience, not an extension of the female market.

We are beginning to see some of this complexity in male make-up, with some companies taking a gender-neutral approach and others targeting what they see as the lack of male focussed products in the category. This highlights issues around marketing but providing there is a diversity of product choice available, surely there will be a product to appeal to any willing buyer.

Education and experience will therefore be key to consistent growth. Ensuring appropriate knowledge exists to give buyers confidence will be essential in growing a loyal audience (something the female market has excelled in over the years), and creating on-going connections with consumers that develop relationships with brands and appeal at different stages of their life. Social media will of course play a big part here, and the Covid experience will have focussed the minds of marketers if they were not already.

The demand for clean and green products is following the same path as the female market, and it will continue to do so. A report by Grand View Research stated that the global market for vegan cosmetics will be worth $20.8 billion by 2025, and progress at a CAGR of 6.3% during the forecast period. Growing conversations around environment-friendly, ethically produced and cruelty-free skin-care products is finding greater resonance with young men who are choosing to align themselves with brands whose ethos they identify with.

So growth in men’s personal care looks set to continue across the globe and the winners are likely to be those companies who are most agile, creating loyalty through effective communication, innovative product ranges that meet real customer needs and address the issues of such a complex, multi-layered market across regions.