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The U.S. men’s grooming category is expected to see growth through 2017, albeit perhaps at a slower rate than previously predicted due in part to a tapering of new product launches and increased market saturation in such categories as shave. There’s no doubt, however, that men are increasingly stepping out of their comfort zone to embrace beauty routines.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Research firm Mintel placed the men’s grooming segment at $3 billion by the end of 2012 and estimates that by 2017, the category will reach about $3.5 billion.

“The U.S. men’s grooming market showed positive growth in each of the past five years and fared better than most beauty and personal care categories during the economic recession,” stated Mintel in its October 2012 U.S. men’s grooming and toiletries report. “This was mostly due to a large influx of new product introductions in a category that had seen little activity in ‘for men’ products — particularly in segments like body care — until recently.”

Men’s body care used to be a relatively untapped segment, but in recent years, brands have increasingly come to market with male-specific shower gels and even body lotion. However, men’s has turned into the strongest performing segment in men’s grooming, with sales growing nearly 13% since 2010, Mintel stated.

One segment that is especially interesting is facial skin care. In the mass market, this segment holds just a 1.4% share of the overall category and has been declining since 2010, according to Mintel. The struggles could stem from the possibility that men are satisfied with general market choices in facial skin care and don’t feel a need to buy male-specific options, or awareness of such products is lacking.

However, in prestige, the NPD Group found that men’s skin care sales increased 6% from January 2012 through July 2012, compared with the same time the prior year. Interestingly, the NPD Group also found that at least 7-out-of-10 men are buying facial skin care products for themselves.

Looking ahead, body care is expected to remain a growth driver within the segment. Furthermore, marketers would be wise to further reach out to older men, who are becoming more concerned about their appearance, and Hispanic men, who are known to over-index in the usage of such grooming products as hair care, according to Mintel.

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