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Challenges in Men's Toiletries
Author: Allison B. Vought
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Men's personal care is a growing market which is expected to contiune to grow in the coming years. For small business owners this may seem like a great new opportunity, but before jumping in, there are a few things to know to achieve success.

The men's personal care products market is growing steadily. In 2013, total US retail sales for men's personal care products were $3.9 billion, a 15% increase from 2008. As with most personal care categories, men's toiletries have proven virtually recession proof due to the desire to maintain hygiene. Products that are used daily and that have been traditionally targeted specifi cally at men have the largest capacity for growth. These include deodorant, shaving, and body care products. [1]

Hair care and facial care products face bigger challenges because men have traditionally used generic options. Scalp treatments in hair care as well as antibacterial and skin healing properties in facial skincare could be potential areas to boost sales. Luxury men's products show the most potential for growth, but are unlikely to overtake overall retail product sales moving forward.

The men's personal care category is expected to continue to grow steadily into 2018. Challenges facing companies include; finding ways to better engage with older men, determining how male-specific skincare and hair care products can better compete with unisex products, and improving the current shopping experience. Younger men show a preference to shop online where they can make purchases quickly and anonymously, while older men lean towards shopping in stores where they can smell and touch the product before committing to it. [2]

When it comes to personal care products, men are very loyal. More than half of all men (52%) say they tend to stick to the same brand of toiletries and grooming products, often for their lifetime. Additionally, 34% of men like to smell their personal care products before buying them, and 20% prefer 2-in-1 products to save time. It will be a challenge for companies to expand the current market, as men don't have a strong interest in trying out new products. 

Statistics show that products marketed to men are more likely than products for women to be dermatologically tested (21% vs. 14%), ethical/environmentally friendly (11% vs. 4%), and aroma therapeutic (6% vs. 3%). [3]

Men's grooming has seen dominance from Western Europe in terms of revenue generation over the last decade, but recently the market has seen a surge from Asia and India. Growth is also occurring in men's cosmetics such as cover up products and cosmetics that camoufl age scars, tattoos and bruises. [4]

As with any emerging market it can seem exciting for a small business owner to want to jump right in trying to capitalize on their niche. Before jumping in, consider these three approaches to success:

PARTNERSHIPS: Grooming clubs and subscription boxes are friendly to new, never-before-seen brands. Be sure to ask for data on products similar to yours to gauge return on investment.

GOING GLOBAL: Although the market for men's skin care products is growing here in the United States, men spend more disposable income on toiletries in the United Kingdom and Asia. Selling abroad can help give your product clout on the home front.

EDUCATION: Not only are men not familiar with specialty toiletries, the concept of purchasing them in a boutique or “beauty” shop may be a hard sell for many. Online tutorials or social media tutorials can help explain a new product quickly and in the privacy of the home. [5]

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