Understanding the nuances of the male grooming market is vital for companies looking to exploit the fast-growing category. Fast-growing category IRI said sales of male personal care products in Germany increased 4.7 per cent to €1.7bn in 2007 while the overall personal care market grew only 1.2 percent. The Nuremberg-based market research company said the highest growth was in the market for products more commonly associated with the women's market such as anti-ageing creams. To look behind the headline figures, IRI surveyed 400 men about their buying habits and found that these traditionally feminine products were proving most popular with professional men eager to look good in the workplace. Trageted products Although men are graduating towards products previously only available to women they are often only willing to buy them if they are specifically targeted to their needs. Around 60 per cent of respondents said they preferred to buy products that are developed for men largely because they believe products formulated for them are more effective than generic alternatives. As well as being drawn to men only products the survey indicated that men are increasingly independent in their buying decisions. While it is often thought that women buy cosmetics for the men in their lives, 87 per cent of respondents to the IRI survey said they bought their own products. Younger men are especially likely to be independent as only 6.1 per cent of men under-30 said they let women buy their personal care products. Buying influences IRI said their survey also suggested that men were most likely to be swayed by special offers, free samples and reasonable prices when they make their personal care buying decisions. Although women are often considered to be a major influence in buying decisions the study suggested that men won't let their partners or family dictate which products they should buy. This was especially true of young men. Looking to the future IRI said the male personal care, which currently represents 26.8 of the overall market in Germany, has significant growth potential as many consumers are still ignorant of the range of products developed specially for them.