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Branding and packaging important for future success of men’s grooming market

By Andrew McDougall , 23-Sep-2011

Male grooming has moved away from the ‘metrosexual’ tag and become much wider accepted, but brands and retailers are urged to steer clear of overtly ‘female’ brands, making branding, packaging and dedicated retail channels important to future growth according to a UK study.

Despite grooming becoming the norm for most British men, they will still look at the way a product is packaged and stick to brands they know and have a positive ‘masculine’ image of.

The online survey, conducted by market researchers SPA Future Thinking, asked a thousand UK men about their grooming habits and purchasing decisions.

It’s all about the image

Packagers of the world will be very interested in the results, as it revealed that the pack and the image of a product or brand is a key factor in a man’s buying process.

For instance, the colour of the product packaging is very important, as nearly nine in ten men surveyed said they thought black or navy blue colours denoted a male product.

And while grooming is becoming more accepted, the survey also found that men still like traditionally ‘masculine’ or ‘sporty’ brands such as Gillette, Adidas and Hugo Boss.

Adidas, with its sporting heritage, has the greatest appeal, with 93 per cent of men aware of the brand’s grooming products. Gillette and Hugo Boss are not far behind, with 85 and 83 per cent awareness respectively.

Interestingly the study found that men will reject brands such as Maybelline, No.7, Max Factor and Dior, as they see them as ‘too feminine’ or as ‘cosmetics’ brands.

The results underline the grooming industry’s success in using more unapologetically masculine role models to represent brands and marketing the use of grooming products as a ‘very masculine decision after all’, as it seems that in certain categories, brand, or perception of brand, is likely to be more important than the type of product.

Buying habits

The survey found that men, unlike women, don’t make special trips to buy grooming products. The vast majority (86 per cent) say they buy them as part of their other shopping; 63 per cent buy from supermarkets as part of the weekly or monthly shop.

Monthly spend on grooming products has also held up pretty well in the recession, with six in ten men claiming they were spending the same as two years ago, with just 17 per cent saying they spent less.

The survey also found that a store, concession or in-store department exclusively dedicated to male grooming products, would be of interest to almost half of respondents.

Will Ullstein, research director at SPA Future Thinking, who headed up the research, said: “the typical male buyer of these products [men’s grooming] would be interested in buying products from a dedicated shop or in-store department – this is something for retailers and brands to seriously think about moving forward.”