Beauty is for both genders

October 12, 2012

While cosmetics categories perform well overall, the stunning wrinkle in beauty is men’s greater involvement.

Male grooming is an increasing part of the retail beauty scene. Men spent $45.5 million on skincare products in the first seven months of 2012, or 6% more than the same period a year ago, says NPD Group. At least seven in ten men participate.

What’s up? Sets and kits (11%), body (14%), sun (27%), hair (8%), and face (5%), with the latter accounting for 81% of the dollar-spend total. “Many men are catching up to women with embracing the routine of a facial skincare regimen,” observes Karen Grant, vp and senior global industry analyst at NPD.

Not surprisingly, we see at F3 that men are stepping more into grooming and cosmetics to wrest a competitive edge in the workplace. So many job losses the past few years pit older candidates vs. younger ones—and a bit of concealer and wrinkle cream couldn’t hurt. Many Boomers also seem obsessed with their looks and style. Guys may have quietly borrowed from their wives or girlfriends before, yet F3 sees them being more upfront about it in retail stores today.

How are brands and stores responding? With masculine-named products, packaged in cigar boxes and containers that mimic liquor bottles, according to a Chicago Tribune account. The tactics appear to be effective:  Mintel says men’s toiletries sales will reach $3.2 billion by 2016, up from an estimated $2.6 billion in 2012 and $2.2 billion 2006, the paper reported.

Clearly, the overwhelming majority of lip, eye, nail and face cosmetics sales belong to women. And those sales are generally healthy. Dollar sales in the eye segment rose 2.51% to $1.25 billion in U.S. food, drug and mass market retailers (excluding Walmart, wholesale clubs, and gasoline/convenience stores) during the 52 weeks ended September 9, 2012. This occurred on a 2.67% unit sales increase.

Dollar sales of facial cosmetics grew at nearly twice the rate. The segment was up 4.87% to $1.08 billion in the 52-week period, on a 4.44% unit sales climb.

Even better, the nail segment soared 19.12% to $1.03 billion in the latest running 12 months. This was achieved on a 12.71% unit sales jump.

Lip was the only beauty segment to dip. Its dollar sales slid 2.29% to $525.8 million, on a 3.66% drop in unit sales during the period. One possible reason was the release of Food and Drug Administration tests this past winter that found “400 shades of popular lipsticks contained trace amounts of lead,” read a Washington Post account. The lead finds its way in through mineral-based color additives that are FDA-approved, Halyna Breslawee, the chief scientist for The Personal Care Products Council, an industry trade group, told the Post.

In sunscreens, the FDA extended a deadline beyond this past summer for manufacturers to clearly distinguish on package labels which brands guard against ultraviolet A rays, which have been linked to skin cancer and premature aging, and ultraviolet B, which causes sunburn, The Associated Press reported.