The men’s personal-care category in the United States is expected to reach sales of $4.4 billion in 2016, remaining nearly flat from the year prior. However, men’s personal-care sales grew 15% when looking at the period from 2011 to 2016.
Current sales growth has stemmed from the antiperspirant and deodorant segment, the largest segment in the men’s personal-care category, accounting for 37% of market sales. Shaving represents the second-largest segment with 27% of overall market share, while skincare accounts for 21%. The strongest gains in the men’s personal-care market were seen in the smallest segment, hair care, which makes up 15% of market share and grew nearly 27% between 2011 and 2016.
“Growth has slowed more recently, as the category has stabilized and been impacted by competition from a growing number of male-specific and unisex options,” says Rebecca Cullen, home & personal care analyst at Mintel.
“Antiperspirant and deodorant experiences the heaviest usage, and men are more likely to use a male-specific version, benefiting the segment. Going forward, we predict hair care will continue to experience the strongest gains as the segment is benefiting from numerous male-specific product launches, as well as men becoming more invested in their hair-care routines due to interest in hair-care products that offer gender-specific benefits.”
The sexualization of men
About 18% of U.S. men who use personal-care products believe men are as sexualized as women are in advertisements, according to new research from Mintel. Some 20% of the same group agree that men are stereotyped in advertisements for these products.
Some 35% of men who use personal-care products say they do not even pay attention to ads, a figure that rises to 48% of Baby Boomers. However, Mintel’s research reveals that making men laugh could be the answer for personal-care brands, with 33% of men who use personal-care products stating they prefer ads that are humorous.
Overall, 25% of personal-care product users think that the male models, celebrities, and athletes used in these ads do not represent them. Millennial men who use personal-care products are especially likely to seek authenticity, preferring ads that feature someone with whom they identify at 25%, as compared to 19% overall. They are also more likely to gain inspiration from ads at 24% than male consumers overall at 15%.
“Today’s men may tune out generic or generalized advertising, but featuring men across a variety of ages, body types, or styles could make male spokesmen more relatable, as men prefer to see someone they can relate to that is not Photoshopped,” Cullen says. “Brands and retailers will need to constantly adapt to appeal to the diverse male population, which spans beyond physical characteristics and race, but also sexual orientation, disabilities, and even life ambitions.”
Facial hair? Yes and no
Some 43% of men who use personal-care products shave every day, but it appears that Millennial men love their facial hair, as only 35% say they shave daily. What’s more, 42% of male consumers have a beard or stubble, increasing to more than 54% of Millennials.
However, while younger men may be more likely to have facial hair, they still want to make a good impression and carefully maintain their facial hair. Some 28% of Millennial men state they ensure their beard or stubble always looks neat, compared to 23% of all men.
Black men who use personal-care products are the most likely to have well-maintained facial hair. Forty-eight 48 of Black men say they have facial hair and an additional 29% agree they ensure their facial hair always looks neat. Black men are also most likely to say they feel self-conscious if their skin is not clear at 21% than male consumers overall at 16%.
Overall, 32% of men say they know their skin type. Just 21% of male personal-care product users agree their face looks fine without using any products, and 11% say they worry about wrinkles.
The quest for youth is high on the agenda for the nation’s fathers as 20% of consumers who are dads, meaning fathers with child(ren) younger than 18 years old in the household, use personal-care products to look younger, compared to an average of 13% of all male personal-care users. Meanwhile, some 29% of the same fathers use personal-care products to express their style, compared to just 13% of men who are not fathers.
“Although men may be taking a more relaxed approach to shaving, they are still invested in their appearance,” Cullen says.
“Black men are more likely to be influenced by celebrity culture, which has seen Black men in sports, music, and movies—such as Drake or Idris Elba—redefine beard style and embrace well-groomed facial hair. Black men look to trendsetting celebrities to provide inspiration for their own look and style, which influences their personal-care purchases.”