Masculinity returns to beauty aisles

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Masculinity returns to beauty aisles


Maybe men have been the secret all along to pumping up front-end sales.

(To view the full Category Review, click here.)

Men used to be just about the “shave category,” but in today’s market, men buy much more than razors and blades. Products crafted just for men, from hair color to skin care, are bringing more guys into mass doors. L’Oréal, Neutrogena, Cetaphil, Combe, Nivea, Dove, Bulldog, Axe, Burt’s Bees and Gillette headline some of the brands that have aggressively curated products aimed at a male audience.

Recent data from Nielsen pegs men’s potential growth in the 20% range for the next few years. Skin care, especially, is one of the areas ripe for incremental sales. In 2015 (the most recent data available), The NPD Group noted that 80% of men use grooming items, but only 22% are facial skin care customers. That could change this year, buyers suggested, as men take more interest in what they apply to their bodies.

And although women will always be the primary purchasers, men should not be left out of the equation. “Men are engaging more in personal care and [are] actually caring about the outcome of their routine,” said Nick Soukas, VP of marketing at Dove. “There are more men that are searching for information and products.”

Unilever’s Dove is interpreting its vision of modern masculinity, which debunks the stereotype that guys are less sophisticated or less interested in personal care routines. Dove’s newest item under its Dove Men+Care nameplate, Elements, is a perfect illustration. Instead of the typical overpowering men’s scents, Elements is naturally positioned with ingredients such as minerals and sage; charcoal and clay; and mineral powder and sandalwood. The Elements line consists of 11 products across several categories, including spray and solid antiperspirants, body wash, bar soap and hair care.

“We know that men are looking for a new kind of freshness in their grooming routines,” Soukas said.

Proof of reverting back to focusing on men can be found at several drug store retailers. Burgeoning sales to men are one reason a newly minted Rite Aid in Manhattan’s financial district features a men’s grooming department, incorporating men’s deodorant, skin care, hair care and shaving.

At Walgreens, the merchandise mix highlights several No7 men’s items. The chain also offers such online brands as Every Man Jack for today’s “discerning” male shopper.

Over at CVS Health, Alex Perez-Tenessa, VP beauty and personal care, previously singled out men as a category he feels will continue to expand in his chain, especially as the company elevates its product offerings.

And at Target, marketing to men is on its mind in personal care with not only the much-heralded Harry’s entry, but also with several product lines in stores or online, including Marlowe, Bulldog, Nivea Men and Man Cave.

Target’s studies suggest that 40% of men’s products in its stores are purchased by men — much higher than four or five years ago.