Handsome is that handsome grooms

Shantanu Deshpande, CEO and Founder, Bombay Shaving.

What really does a man want? A lot of cosmetics and personal care product companies have entered men’s grooming segment. A few M&A and VC funding transactions too have occurred in this space in the recent past. How does future look like for this market? – A report.

There was a time when a clean shave with a double-edged razor and a soap bath was all it took for a man to be well-groomed. A regular visit to the local barber to get a ‘hero’ hairstyle and oiled hair was the usual luxuries the man would spare in the name of looking handsome. Receding hairlines like the wider girth only meant prosperity and men were happy to leave the beauty aspects to women, occasionally raiding their cold cream for dry skin. Facials and pedicure, if at all, were clandestine vanity affairs for men, often a well-kept secret.

The dawn of the new millennium saw the rise of the metrosexual man and products literally came out of the closet. Men got the whiff of the confident look with targeted male deos. Soon to follow was the gel-set look that jostled for space on the shelves and all it took was a ‘fair & handsome’ Shah Rukh Khan and a rugged ‘Garnier’ John Abraham for the men to pay attention to their grooming habits which went beyond the basic hygiene habits. Even global giant Gillette, which had been struggling to gain market share in India since its debut in 1984, focussed its marketing efforts, particularly the memorable “Shave India Movement” campaign, in 2009. In a country, where men considered nicks and cuts from double-edged blades as shaving routine, by 2013, only a few short years after the beginning of the campaign, Gillette accounted for two out of the three razors sold in India.

Today, a sneak peek into a typical 20-something’s bag can be a treasure trove of branded shampoos and conditioners, specialised oils and body lotions, beard wax, deos and sometimes even a sunblock lotion. And the average urban male is happy to flaunt it. A quick ‘tab-shopping’ on Amazon.in reveals dozens of products across a range of categories such as shaving and beard care to skincare to fragrances. As per some market estimates, for many urban males in India, the average monthly spending on personal grooming products may be in the range of Rs 1,500 – Rs 2,000.

The first impression has a lot to do with the booming grooming industry. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder are the main causes. Besides good looks can enhance good grades in a job market. An analysis into the motivations underlying this surge in the adoption of male grooming products points to two key drivers: confidence and to achieve a competitive edge over other males in career growth rather than to attract females.

Key demand drivers

The rising aspiration among Indian men to look better groomed, rapid urbanization and increasing per capita income has led to the Indian men’s grooming market’s rapid growth of more than 45 per cent in the last 5 years, reveals the ASSOCHAM report that was released in January 2018. This market is currently at an estimated Rs 16,800 crore (approx $2.64 billion). The report further adds that about 40 per cent to 45 per cent of total salon business comes from men’s treatment which includes skin lightening and hair colour products being the most popular among Indian men.

Shaving products currently control the largest market share in terms of revenue in Indian men’s grooming market. As per estimates, Indian shaving products market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29 per cent and accounts for the major share. As per Market & Research insight, the India men’s grooming market is expected to grow by over 10 per cent between 2018-2023. 

Top brands’ tally

Major players in India men’s grooming market include Procter & Gamble, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Nivea, and L’Oréal, among others. The market is currently dominated by Procter & Gamble followed by HUL and Nivea, respectively. But disruption is also seen into this market. In the past couple of years, many other small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have been able to create a significant share in India men’s grooming products market.

A Chennai-based grooming brand, Naturals is expecting a huge growth and the number of salons in the Indian subcontinent will increase to 380 by the end of 2020. CavinKare is hoping to hit the mark of Rs 3,000 crore turnover by 2020.

International brands like DEPOT, the famous Italian brand launched in India in 2017 focussing on the high-end market. It is aiming to clock a turnover of Rs. 3.5 crore in the first year of operations and targeting a growth of 50 per cent year-on-year growth for three years.

The capital adequacy

Startups such as the Bombay Shaving Company, LetsShave, Happily Unmarried, which operates the Ustraa brand, Singh Styled, Beardo (backed by Bollywood actor-turned-entrepreneur Suniel Shetty),  and The Man Company are some of the new-age grooming companies that garnering some market share.  Some of these have been successful in raising capital from VCs and PE players. In August, Bombay Shaving Company (BSC) raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding from new investors such as Colgate-Palmolive Asia Pacific Limited, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive, and existing investor Fireside Ventures.

The year 2017 saw two major stake buy-outs in the male grooming segment – Marico picked up 45 per cent stake in Beardo in March 2017 and Emami picked a 30 per cent stake in The Man Company in December 2017.

Innovations and research

Moreover, companies are introducing innovative products into the market. Vini Cosmetics entered the fragrances market by bringing in a range of no-gas deodorants in the market under the brand FOGG. Segment-wise, fragrances dominate the men’s grooming products market in India followed by shaving and skin care segments, respectively.

Another area in the grooming segment is the hair transplant industry. On an average, men are prepared to spend a few lakhs for a thick mane. With various brands entering into it, the scope seems very flexible and wide for both the consumers and the brands. The global market of hair transplant is expected to reach USD 23,881.9 Million by 2023. The market has grown from USD 4,128.1 billion in 2016 and is being looked up at to move forward with a CAGR of 24.1 per cent for the forecast period, according to a report by Market Research Future.

The key players in the global hair restoration market are Bernstein Medical, MEDICAMAT, Restoration Robotics Inc. Company and the in the Indian hair restoration market, brands like Ethics hair instruments, Dr Batra’s, Richfeel Trichology centre, etc. are some of the Indian names. Seen as the high growth area, the men’s products category is expected to show an exponential rise in the near future.