One of the problems when tackling the concept of men’s grooming is the fact that ‘men’s grooming’ is considered a concept in its own right in the first place. Whereas there are a multitude of acknowledged subsections within women’s personal care, the whole array is lumped together for men. Although this might be simply a matter of semantics, the result is that it becomes too easy to think one-dimensionally when approaching products for men.
There are many complex issues regarding products for men, not least whether it is men or women who have actually been doing the purchasing, but it is undoubted that the whole market has flipped on its side and turned back to front. The way people learn about and buy new products has changed, as has the way the industry talks to the consumer – and how the consumer communicates with the industry.
These changes make it increasingly unhelpful to approach men as a single, homogeneous mass. There are tribes and trends to consider, but the most important evolution in the market for both men and women is the rise of the ‘individual’. For many experts, this is seen as the logical progression following 70 years of post war social development, along with huge changes in industry, work and social interaction. People feel more able to express themselves as individuals rather than conforming to stereotypes, and men are definitely a part of this.
Social media has had a huge impact on this area, not only in the way it encourages people to project an enhanced or filtered version of themselves, but also affecting how information is disseminated and trends evolve. Men are therefore increasingly conscious that they want to use personal care products that allow them to express their true identity as opposed to becoming lost in a sea of identikits.
The challenge for formulators and finished product manufacturers is to create products that enable and encourage men and women to achieve this, and it will be fascinating to see what new products and technology are revealed in Bangkok this November that fit into this trend.