Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Male grooming gets a cosmetic touch

Finally, the trend of the rising male vanity is spilling out of glossy city supplements and into balance sheets. The metrosexual man, believed to have been around for a while, is being re-discovered by marketers.

The market is still small, worth only Rs 400 crore a year. But its growth — the segment is expected to double every year in the next few years — has attracted some usual suspects, such as a bevy of cosmetics makers and, at least, one unusual one.

An added attraction is that, unlike the highly competitive segment of female grooming, male grooming is a relatively virgin territory and available for plunder.Emami was an early bird, which swooped down with its Fair & Handsome fairness cream in a market full of skin-whitening products for women. It soon had company in Marico, Elder Pharma and VLCC. The most recent entrant is also the most unexpected one — Mysore-based NR Group, which makes the Cycle brand of incense sticks.

Going by the indications, this is just the beginning. “We will introduce complete toiletries for men including creams, after-shave lotions and creams, soaps, deodorants and shampoos in a year,” says Aditya Agarwal, director, Emami, which has also launched Mr Black, a hair dye for men. The company is staying away from introducing the same range for women.

Says Anuj Saxena, managing director of Elder Healthcare, the personal care arm of the Elder group, “Over the next two years, we plan to increase our product portfolio in skin care, hair care and oral care. In personal care, we plan to launch 17 more products in the next two years, of which, close to 30 per cent would focus on men.”

Elder Healthcare already has seven products including fairness creams for men, lip balm, soaps, mouthwash, etc.

Emami’s launch of Fair & Handsome was driven by a study, which said 30 per cent users of skin care products were men. Within a year of its launch, Fair & Handsome registered sales worth Rs 50 crore.

Marico’s Kaya Skin Clinic has seen the share of men among its clientele increasing three-fold to 25 per cent in two years. In south India, it is 35 per cent.

Direct seller Oriflame, which sells talcum powder, after-shaves, sprays and deodorants for men, has reported 20 per cent growth in the number of male products being bought.

Says Fredrick Widell, managing director of Oriflame India, “We have more than 40 products for men right now and are looking at introducing some more in India. These would include tailor-made products for men to enhance stomach muscles and anti-ageing products.”

VLCC is also said to be launching several new products for male consumers. Says Yogesh Sethi, its CEO, “We launched Fuel brand of moisturisers, creams, etc, for men last year. We are now looking at strengthening the brand with several new launches. In the next few years, we plan a chunk of our FMCG expansion around male consumers.”

The NR Group is planning a range of products targeted at the upmarket, metrosexual male, beginning with after-shave lotions, shaving creams and fairness creams. Says Arjun Ranga, the company’s CEO, “After our entry into the personal care space, the next logical extension is into the male grooming category.”

Sorce-Business Standard 10/10/07

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