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ACNielsen: Men Are Driving Personal Care Product Growth

NEW YORK - An increased interest in appearance, hygiene, and grooming on the part of today's males has contributed to the growth in personal care categories around the world, according to a study released today by ACNielsen, a VNU business and the world's leading marketing information company.

The study, "What's Hot Around the Globe: Insights on Growth in Personal Care," analyzed retail purchases in 56 countries across nearly 60 categories and found many examples of this trend, including the sales value of shower gels -- one of the fastest-growing personal care categories worldwide - which grew by 7 percent in 2003, primarily on the strength of sales in male-oriented products.

"Women aren't the only ones focused on personal grooming," says Jane Perrin, ACNielsen managing director of global services and sponsor of the study. "In many of the countries we studied, the growth in personal care categories was impacted by the introduction of new male-oriented products. In the United Kingdom, for example, the shower gel category grew by only 4 percent last year, but the male segment grew by 18 percent."

Two other categories -- deodorants and razors and blades -- are also benefiting from men's newfound attention to appearance, Perrin says, noting that the sales of male-oriented products grew twice as fast as those of female-oriented products. The deodorant category grew by 5 percent overall, with 35 of the 50 countries studied by ACNielsen reporting increases, while the razors and blades category grew 5 percent, with three-quarters of the 52 countries measured by ACNielsen reporting an increase.

"Men are upgrading to more advanced shaving systems," Perrin said. "This significantly impacts the growth in value sales, since a simple disposable razor can cost less than $1, while the newer, more advanced shaving systems may require an initial investment of $10 to $15."

A number of manufacturers are trying to capitalize on the growing interest in personal grooming among males, including Procter & Gamble, which in March announced an exclusive licensing agreement with OT OverTime to market a line of personal care products developed for tweens and teenage boys.

Unilever's male-focused brand Axe, now available in more than 58 countries, saw its product line expand from a body spray to a roll-on deodorant, a shower gel, a preshave and post-shave product and a hair gel, outperforming Unilever's own sales targets within a year of its 2002 launch in North America.

Gillette's recent introduction of the M3 Power system is another example of a new product targeted to the fast-growing male grooming market, leveraging technological innovations in the razors and blades category.

The study's findings are based on sales value of products determined by retail purchase data from 56 countries, spanning Asia Pacific, Emerging Markets, Europe, Latin America, and North America, and accounting for more than 95 percent of the world's gross domestic product and more than 75 percent of the world's population. To get a complete view of the market in these 56 countries, ACNielsen included trends from nearly 60 personal care categories and then grouped these categories into nine larger product areas for a higher-level analysis: baby care, cosmetics, hair care, personal paper, dental care, body cleansing and moisturizing, face cleansing and moisturizing, sun care, and hair removal.
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