If I had told any Indian FMCG company a decade back that men’s grooming will become a fast-growing standalone category in the future; they probably would have laughed it off. 

Because back then, the only grooming product that was “socially acceptable” for men was either a face wash, shaving cream, or a deodorant. Anything more would attract unsolicited comments, such as “Ladki hai kya?” (Are you a woman?). The stereotypical society that India was, a man grooming or taking care of his body was considered effeminate and defied every other norm of “machoism”.

But as Indian society evolved (thanks to the growth of e-commerce, men’s fashion, and western influence), men have started taking care of their bodies and skin more than ever. 

The younger generation i.e., the Millenials & the GenZs, have realized that there is nothing wrong with daily grooming and skin-care routine. I, personally, make a lot of homemade facemasks and use them. Today, the men’s grooming segment is a multi-billion dollar opportunity. 

However, it was FMCG company Emami that broke the stereotype in 2005. The Kolkata-based company launched a product exclusively for men in the fairness cream category, meant only for women back then. The product ‘Fair and Handsome’ did wonders, and many other companies followed suit with one or two products. 

But the entry of a few younger startups and brands such as Beardo, Ustraa, The Man Company, Bombay Shaving, and The Skin Story, amongst others, has expanded the men’s grooming market in the last few years and is flourishing at an unprecedented rate. A transition in the business and marketing approach of the products sold by male grooming majors has also helped in this (men grooming) category’s growth. As the traditional definition of masculinity is changing, so is the branding and marketing approach of grooming products. 

From being a non-entity to a multi-billion-dollar market opportunity, the male grooming market is on an upswing with a rising share of the male population in India engaging in one or another form of grooming regimes. The increasing popularity and adoption of different products for body care, skincare, grooming, and hair care is leading to surging sales of male grooming products in India.

According to market research firm Nielsen, 177 new male grooming brands or variants were launched between April 2018 and March 2019.

ASSOCHAM projects the Indian male grooming industry to grow at a massive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45%, revealing the enormous potential the category has. 

According to TechSci Research report, “India men’s grooming products market stood at $ 1.4 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 15%, in value terms, during 2017-2022, to reach $ 3.3 billion by 2022.”

As per a Nielsen report, “For decades, beauty & grooming market has been dominated by products and services for women. Beauty services for women have always been expansive and included massage, facial, bleach, and much more. On the other hand, grooming services for men have traditionally included only the basic haircut and shaving.” 

“In recent times, however, metrosexual men have become more conscious of grooming, and now demand a far wider range of products and services from the market. A popular culture like movies, serials, cricket, and social media have influenced men to pursue trends in styling and grooming. Consequently, manufacturers have begun launching many more grooming products for them, ” the report adds. 

Indian Cosmetics Market

According to Research and Markets “The Indian Cosmetics Market was valued USD 13191.23 Million in FY2020 and is forecast to grow at double-digit CAGR of 16.39% through FY2026 to reach USD 28985.33 Million by FY2026. Anticipated growth in the market can be attributed to growing disposable income leading to increasing purchasing power of the people. The emergence of online retail and the increasing inclination of youth towards skincare and other grooming products is another key factor that is expected to drive the cosmetics market during the forecast period. Moreover, rising consumer awareness and preference to buy advanced skincare products which not only make them look beautiful but also enhance their skin type is also leading to the huge demand for cosmetics products.”

What is aiding the growth of the cosmetics market?
Increasing demand for herbal cosmetic products among Indian consumers is also creating a wide growth opportunity for manufacturers.

Rising awareness towards body aesthetics, especially among women is making India one of the largest consumers of cosmetic products around the world.
The Indian Cosmetics Market is categorized based on category, distribution channel, and competition. The market is categorized into body care, hair care, color cosmetics, men’s grooming, fragrances, and others.

So what constitutes the men’s grooming market? 

Src – Tech Sci Research

According to a Nielsen report titled ‘THE MAN IN THE MIRROR’: While products related to Shaving & Face Care continue to account for over 50% of the male grooming pie, more unexplored focus areas like Body and Hair Care are fuelling growth.” 

Src – Nielsen Report

Modern Trade (MT) retail format is capitalizing on this trend by creating exclusive zones for Men in stores – delivering growth of 16%, which is 1.5 times of traditional trade (TT). 

What are Indian FMCG companies doing?

From a few M&A deals, it becomes evident that FMCG companies are taking men’s grooming seriously. To sum it up –

#1 – Marico picked up a 45% stake in the company Beardo in 2017. In early July 2020, it acquired the rest of the equity. (This direct-to-consumer brand began with serving up products for beards, before evolving into a full-stack men’s grooming company.)

#2 – In February 2020, Wipro Consumer Care Ventures—the venture capital fund of Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting—picked up a minority stake in online shave and grooming startup LetsShave. Wipro Consumer Care’s tryst with direct to the consumer goes back to 2017 when they picked up a stake in Happily Unmarried, a consumer products company that also had male grooming product brand Ustraa.

#3 – Reckitt Benckiser invested Rs 45 Cr in Bombay Shaving Company recently.

To summarize, FMCG companies are finding next growth areas and are trying to capitalize on them. Nevertheless, it will not be a walk in the park as we see above that many listed and unlisted entities are catering to this new segment. We will keep a close watch on the developments and the management commentaries surrounding this segment and keep you updated!

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