Skin-care firms target men's market | Shanghai Daily

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September 24, 2009

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Skin-care firms target men's market

JAPAN'S Kao Corp introduced a new line of skin-care products for men this month, hoping to overcome the male view that using cosmetics is a woman thing.

The Men's Biore brand has added a new facial wash, milk lotion and gel cream following the success of face cleansers that got men to thinking about skin care in the fast growing market of cosmetics in China.

Apparently, Kao is not the only company that sees great opportunities in the market. Last year alone, 3,600 new personal care products for men were launched globally, according to market research house Mintel Beauty Innovation. No figures for China were broken out.

"I don't think it is strange for men to use some beauty products," said Jason Ma, a 25-year-old post graduate in Shanghai, who uses facial wash, toner, body wash and lip-balm regularly. "Almost every guy in our class uses cleansing products."

Ma added, "I totally understand those who even use eye gel or facial masks, although I myself may not be one of them."

Awareness of beauty is spreading across China, from modern coastal cities to hinterland areas and from the younger generation to men of all ages, market research and consulting firm Searchina (Shanghai) Co wrote in a report.

The trend is underpinned by magazines, televisions and movies promoting the image of beautiful people.

In particular, Kao and other cosmetics companies are trying to show that beauty care is macho.

"The men's skin-care segment gets wide attention from global companies because the market has been growing rapidly in recent years," said Toru Nishguchi, vice president and executive officer of the marketing division of Kao Commercial (Shanghai) Co. "It is a gold mine full of potential."

Low market penetration and rapid sales growth are driving the men's skin-care sector. L'Oreal, Vichy, Lanc?¥me, Dior, Shiseido and other companies all entered the men's skin-care market after fierce competition in women's product lines pared profit margins.

"Sales of men's skin-care products are expected to grow 26 percent this year, becoming one of the fastest-growing segments despite a slowing in the Chinese economy after the global financial crisis," Song Ying, a researcher at AC Nielsen, told the China Cosmetics Summit at the end of August.

That compares with 10 percent forecast growth for the whole cosmetics industry in China, according to Song.

10-fold surge

The value of the men's skin-care and cosmetics market could reach a record 400 million yuan (US$33 million) this year and then surge 10-fold to 4 billion yuan next year, according to the China Association of Fragrance and Cosmetic Industries. That compares with the 40 billion yuan market size of the whole cosmetics industry.

Men's Biore previously focused on facial washes and then expanded to lotions and creams. The new line is particularly designed for dry skin during autumn and winter seasons.

"Men are increasingly inclined to choose skin-care products suitable for their own skin types and to seek higher value products," said Nishguchi. "So we are trying to develop as many products as possible to address the needs of different customers."

Although facial wash still dominate sales in the men's skin-care market, toners, eye gels, facial masks and sun screens are becoming more popular. Still, some men think that even facial washes, much less masks and gels, are sissy stuff.

Nishguchi said young men aged between 18 and 25, including students and white-collar workers, are still the major customers and main drivers of growth in the market.

Searchina's survey found that young men in Shanghai are the most inclined to embrace the concept of using products to enhance their looks and are willing to try different products.

Men in their 20s tend to be the biggest users of toners, facial masks and pore packs, while men in their 40s are more prone to buy lotions and sun blocks, Searchina said.

"Sometimes, men will sneak a girlfriend's or wife's cosmetics to try them out," said Peter Kleinschmidt, an executive board member of Beiersdorf AG, Germany's largest cosmetic company. "So we introduced a men's line. Globally, men's skin care is at the beginning."

Beiersdorf introduced Nivea for Men in 1986 when men's products were mostly limited to shaving accessories. That brand now encompasses more than 50 product categories, from body washes to deodorants.

"The launch of the Nivea for Men range is a good example of knowing what motivates consumers, meeting their needs and at the same time anticipating their wishes with innovations," said Thomas Quaas, chairman of the executive board of Beiersdorf AG.

It is a good thing Nivea and other cosmetics companies are paying attention to what men think because the male market may be becoming as picky as women when it comes to beauty care.

"There are not enough brands and products for men yet," said the postgraduate student Ma. "And we still don't have the same wide choices as women in either price or diversity of shops selling skin-care products."




 

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