Home / Industry / Retail /  Guess who’s driving the face wash market in India?

Mumbai: It turns out there is a reason for the assembly-line of testosterone-heavy men’s deodorant and fairness cream ads that typically fill the gaps in sports broadcasts.

Men between the ages of 18 and 45 spend marginally more than women on personal care products. And in certain categories such as body wash and face wash, a lot more, according to data from research firm IMRB International’s Target Group Index (TGI).

Younger men, between the ages of 18 and 24, would appear to be even more vain (or at least very conscious of how they look). They spend more than women in the same age group on even products such as moisturisers and conditioners.

TGI tracks 200 product categories and 3,000 brands.

The survey highlights a trend that has been in the making for a few years now.

“Grooming is on the rise over the years, more so for men. Interestingly, men have advanced beyond just a haircut and shaving to more advanced services such as facials, waxing/threading, hair setting," said Rashmi Nair, group business director, media, Kantar IMRB.

Indeed, the trend is visible in both the booming business being done by hair transplant specialists and the appearance of the ubiquitous courier and delivery boy.

It is also visible in the numbers.

On average, men spend close to 10% more on body washes and 7% more on face washes and scrubs than women every month. And men between the ages of 18 and 24 spend about 15% more on moisturizers and 6% more on conditioners every month, when compared with women of the same age.

The male grooming market is still just a tenth of the overall beauty market in India, according to research firm Euromonitor International. It is growing faster, though—at 20-25%.

From about $600 million, it is expected to reach more than a billion dollars by 2020, according to Hema Aushat, chief executive officer and founder, Argus CMPO, a marketing agency specializing in beauty and wellness offerings. And it has seen some success stories.

Five years ago, L’Oreal India Pvt. Ltd launched Garnier Men. The brand is now as big (in revenue terms) as the company’s Garnier Skin Naturals brand which has been around for longer and is bought largely by women.

“The category adoption for men started from the sophisticated urban consumer who has a higher propensity to spend than the average women consumer," said Jean-Christophe Letellier, managing director, L’Oreal India. It’s now expanding, he added. “The category is exploding, with men in smaller towns also buying their own products instead of sharing their wife’s or common products used in the house."

L’Oreal is launching 15g packs to address this demand in smaller towns.

In metros and larger cities, there are salons offering an extensive menu of services (and products) for even something as niche as moustache and beard care, said Vimal Pande, chief executive officer, Vi-John Group, which makes male grooming products. His company plans to launch a chain of salons in 2017.

Like Pande and Letellier, everyone has plans for the market.

Marico Ltd is focusing on growing its portfolio of offerings under the Set Wet brand it acquired from British consumer goods firm Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc in 2012. Wipro is also extending its Aramusk soap brand (popular in the 1990s) to shaving foam in some southern markets. And a clutch of foreign male grooming brands is looking to launch in India, according to Aushat.

The space has also attracted the attention of start-ups such as LetsShave and Happily Unmarried Marketing Pvt. Ltd.

The latter, which launched Ustraa, a portfolio of male grooming products available online last year, hopes to end the year to March with revenue of Rs40 crore, according to the company’s founder Rajat Tuli.

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