It’s in the Male

The ProBarber kit from Andis is for men who want to give themselves haircuts at home.

The ProBarber kit from Andis is for men who want to give themselves haircuts at home.

By David Gil

Producers of men’s grooming products may be on the cusp of one of the industry’s biggest growth periods.

Market research has uncovered the fact that males are more attentive to how they look than they have been in the past.

According to a report prepared by Packaged Facts, a market-research firm, the market for men’s personal-care products—valued at $19.7 billion in 2009—will grow by 40 percent to about $28 billion by 2014. “More is being spent on men’s grooming, thanks to the ongoing rise of middle-class sectors, the enhanced connectivity of even the poorest corners of the world via the Internet, marketers’ more sophisticated appeals to men and the universality of prestige and natural-food/HBC channels across hundreds of international borders,” Packaged Facts said.

Research conducted by Wahl Clipper Corp. has found that 66 percent of men have facial hair in some form or other (beards, goatees, mustaches), and that “the majority of men believe that facial hair is their defining quality,” said Pat Anello, Wahl’s director of marketing.

Wahl unveiled its Lithium Ion trimmer during the International Home + Housewares Show in March. The trimmer category has become extra important, given the overwhelming number of American men with some type of facial hair, Anello said.

It’s also not just an issue of facial hair, he added. “Forty-three percent of men under age 55 and 50 percent of men from 18 to 30 groom below the neck,” he said.

They also want their facial hair to be neatly trimmed and well-controlled.

“Our products, such as Remington’s Adjustable Beard Trimmer and Complete Grooming System are specially designed to address this trend,” said Patrick Maguire, the brand’s director of marketing-men’s personal care.

Another factor that has entered into this equation is the economy.  Just as with women—who are cutting back on their visits to the salon and instead buying hair-care products to do their hair at home—more men are trying to barber themselves at home, as opposed dropping anywhere up to $100 for a professional to cut their hair.

Recent product introductions reflect this trend.

“Our new ProBarber kit is designed for men who enjoy giving stylish home haircuts, and want to use a true professional product just like their own barber,” said Fred Koeller, vice president of marketing for Andis.

As with its other product introductions at the International Home + Housewares Show, Andis based its design of the ProBarber kit on products that it gears toward the professional market. Not coincidentally, the company uses its presence at barber shops as a means of marketing these products to consumers.

“Men go to their barbers and see them using many different Andis tools,” Koeller said. “Because they see their barber using Andis with great passion and outstanding results, they themselves want and request Andis-branded products at retail.”

Remington is marketing its shavers toward men using a combination of high-technology tools such as social media with old-fashioned word of mouth.

“The best recommendations come from friends you trust, so we are depending on people who have tried our products to help us spread the word,” Maguire said. “We work closely with consumers to make sure that we are addressing all their shaving and grooming needs.”

Wahl Clipper is targeting men through its advertising, which includes national cable television focusing on channels that cater to males. Anello said the company is also about to launch the fifth consecutive year of its Wahl Let It Grow tour, which involves a 30-foot mobile barber shop that travels from coast to coast, educating men about facial hair.

One of the unique characteristics of this category is that women are also a viable marketing target.

“Consumer research indicates that women make nearly 40 percent of the actual purchases,” Maguire said. “We see a huge sales lift during Father’s Day and at Christmas, so we do focus on reaching those significant others as well.”

Wahl Clipper reaches out to women online to provide recommendations of Wahl trimmers as gifts for men. “Wahl knows that 18 percent of men who own trimmers received them as gifts from a wife or girlfriend,” Anello said.

Andis targets women through advertising in periodicals that women read. “Women are volume purchasers of men’s grooming tools and purchase them for gifts, special occasions and holidays,” Koeller said.

So attractive has this segment become that it could soon see some new entrants. Epilady, one of the nation’s highest-profile brands of epilators for women, is considering making a stand in men’s grooming, according to Amir Abileah, the company’s vice president.

“Men’s products have higher prices and higher margins than women’s products,” Abileah said. “They are willing to spend more on a shaver because they have to use it every day, and they want it to last a while.”

The company’s decision here will depend on branding—whether Epilady decides to use its own name, already identified with women’s products, or to create a new brand.