It seems that it is all up to men this year.
At least that might be true when it comes to big parts of the health and beauty care landscape, where lackluster sales in parts of the category seem to be hoping that the men’s care segments can pick up much of the pace.
The bottom line is that men are spending more than ever on their HBC needs, and that is helping retailers survive a slowdown in much of the industry. Still, merchants and suppliers are looking to men to open their wallets even wider to buy not only new products, but items in such categories as skin care, where they have not traditionally purchased many items in the past.
Men’s personal care is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4%, en route to $166 billion by 2022 worldwide, according to Allied Market Research. Nielsen vice president Genevieve Aronson shared data that revealed men’s grooming as the second-largest gainer (behind eyelash treatments) for the 52-week period that ended last December, up 26% in dollars and 31% in units.
Deborah Weinswig, founder of Coresight Research, predicted continued growth will be driven by change in gender stereotypes, aggressive marketing campaigns, advancements in the technology of products and the rise of disposable income.
Men’s products, industry experts predicted, will be one of the bright spots of 2020. Yet, it will not be the traditional razors and shavers pacing sales and bringing men to stores — those categories are suffering, losing out to online competitors and a decline in daily shaving. Instead, retailers expect more launches of shave products that do more than facial hair removal, and a continued push into beard care, unisex grooming lines, skin care, devices and hair thickening.
Innovating on Hairitage
As shave, the longtime men’s grooming cornerstone, is losing its cachet, manufacturers are getting creative. Category mainstay Edgewell Personal Care, the maker of Schick, is thinking out of the box. “As weekly hair removal penetration continues to decline, there is a need to search beyond the traditional ‘clean shaver’ by addressing the more diverse men’s grooming needs,” said Nicole Harris, senior brand manager at Edgewell. “And with no sign that the facial hair trend is going away, manufacturers and retailers must think about new ways to cater to the needs of these men.”
Harris said one of Edgewell’s answers is the Xtreme3 Face & Body razor under its Xtreme Men’s Disposable Brand that is exclusive for this year to Target. “Equipped with our unique flexible blade technology, this razor is designed for total body comfort, with a pivoting head that easily adapts to body contours,” Harris said. “It has lubricating strips with aloe vera and vitamin E to help prevent skin irritation and a guard bar formulated with jojoba oil and shea butter for skin comfort.”
Harris also said the brand will continue to push its core brand Xtreme in an effort to streamline and simplify the shopping experience. “We learned that over 60% of shave consumers are undecided at shelf, and when they spend less time searching, it directly correlates to the number of items in their basket.”
While razor/blade companies seek new avenues, other companies are bringing skin and hair care to the forefront of mass retail departments.
“Men’s skin care in the U.S. is vastly underdeveloped versus many international markets,” said Michael Law, chief commercial officer at Eagle Labs, which produces RSVP Skin Care for Men, a premium skin care brand for men with natural and organic properties.
The much-heralded men’s skin care explosion has been a long time coming. Parallel to the natural beauty category, which has been touted as a revolution for years and is only now hitting stride, men’s sales have long been promised to surge. Big brands that include Nivea for Men and Dove + Men have been trailblazers and are now being joined by a plethora of nascent brands looking for a share of the pie.
Yet men are tricky. They need to be wooed. Experts believe the foundation is in place to make 2020 a breakthrough year, with burnished departments at chains including CVS Pharmacy, Rite Aid and Target. The good news is that men like to shop physical spaces, according to a 2018 Prosper Insights & Analytics report, “Men’s Grooming Category is Ready for Disruption,” which showed that Walmart is the destination most preferred by men for shopping for personal care and hygiene, followed by CVS Pharmacy, Target, Walgreens and Amazon.