Special focus: Male grooming

Male polish and armpit shaving: latest developments and predictions for male grooming

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Male polish and armpit shaving: latest developments and predictions for male grooming

Related tags Dollar shave club Shaving

Once a key buzzword in beauty trends, is it fair to say male grooming has now lost its edge? We take a look back through our archives at recent shifts in the category, and consider where opportunities may still lie ahead.

Described recently in The Grocer as ‘having a hangover’, the category has seen £59.6m drop from its sales [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 24 April 2016], and its value is down 6.3% in Britain.

But with the recent noise in the press around Marc Jacobs’ popularising of ‘male polish’ and Unilever’s decisive acquisition of razor subscription service The Dollar Shave Club, it seems male grooming may well still have life in it.

Here, we take a look at the brands still getting things right, and shine a spotlight on opportunities up ahead.

Hotspot: Africa

While Europe and North America may have fallen out of love with male grooming - Harris Interactive research has found that only 66% of men always use deodorant, for example, compared with 85% of women - it looks like enthusiasm for the category is mounting elsewhere.

Datamonitor Consumer recently revealed that black African men are offering an exciting emerging consumer group for personal care​.

"African men are not shy about shopping for – and using – grooming products to improve their appearance​," Datamonitor Consumer​ researcher Massiata Barro told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

Shaving spotlight

All is not lost elsewhere for male grooming, though, with facial hair still posing strong opportunities for the category, with razors, shaving and beard care all pushing forward with innovation.

Unilever’s acquisition of the Dollar Shave Club​ is set to threaten P&G’s dominance at the forefront of the shaving segment with Gillette, with the heightened competitivity of the space likely to lead to new developments and marketing approaches.

P&G, meanwhile, has been encouraging male consumers to buy into underarm shaving with the promise of a fresher personal scent - the company claims its study found that shaving armpit hair can reduce bad odours​.

In Australia, the trend for beards has depleted razor sales, but is opening up space for growth in beard care, according to Euromonitor International​.

Manufacturers are predicted to launch products that groom and style men’s facial hair over the forecast period, such as beard oils and moisturisers​,” the research firm confirms. Beard care looks set to offer growth opportunities across western markets. 

Brands in front

MMUK MAN is a colour cosmetics brand specifically for men, and has been seeing steadily growing popularity​. The UK company enjoys an annual turnover of £62,000 and predicts this will grow to upwards of £750,000 next year.

It recently took its offering over the pond, and has begun retailing in the US via Differio.com​. "It was only a matter of time before we made our products available in the US. Differio.com was a clear winner in my eyes, thanks to its edgy and fresh approach to men’s style, grooming and lifestyle​,” MMUK MAN founder Alex Dally said on the partnership.

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