Men have used cosmetics as far back as the ancient civilization. However, it was not until the metrosexuality phenomenon of the year 2000 (emergence of men with a strong concern for their appearance) that a rise in demand for these products became noticeable.
Worldwide, the significant growth in men’s concern for their cosmetic appearance is observed in developed regions such as North America and Western Europe. Major product categories associated with the emerging men’s cosmetics market consists of: grooming (pre-shave, shaving and post-shave) and toiletries (bath and shower, deodorants, hair care and skin care). Sales of skin care products recorded the largest growth in the past three years. This is primarily due to a growing concern about the skin damaging effects of the sun, as well as, male consumers’ increasing use of anti-ageing skin care products.
In Canada, the key consumers of men’s cosmetics are men between the ages of 18 and 65. Male baby boomers, currently aged between 50 and 65, constitute a fast rising consumer demographic with a high level of disposable income. These men in particular are interested in anti-ageing and sun protection products.
As a country of origin, the United States of America accounts for more than 70 percent of Canada’s imports of men’s cosmetic products. France is the second most important country of origin followed by Italy. Big players dominate this market, such as Procter and Gamble. Interestingly, the skin care sub-sector is dominated by prestige brands such as Biotherm, Homme and Zirh. Drugstores, supermarkets, and department stores represent the most popular channels of distribution for men’s cosmetics.
Although, the North American Free Trade Agreement has facilitated trade between the United States and Canada, Canada’s health and consumer protection agencies maintain their own unique regulations to govern the sales of cosmetic products. Health Canada, for example, supervises and monitors the quality control, the ingredients and clear labeling of cosmetic goods in Canada’s two official languages, English and French.
Historically, men’s grooming was quite prevalent in the ancient civilizations. The first form of male grooming was the use of fragrant oils. Men in ancient civilizations used oils, rouge, and kohl in their routine lives. However, in the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church encouraged the decline of cosmetic application amongst men. Men’s grooming resurfaced in the Elizabethan era but again it faded in the late 1800s. In the more recent history, men’s cosmetics usage spread to a much wider population led by the metrosexuality phenomenon in the early 2000s.
The metrosexual man of the early 2000s is defined as being sensitive and possessing a very strong awareness of self-grooming and fashion. Now, a more recent trend deviates from metrosexuality in which men recognize grooming procedures and adapt them to their lifestyle. It is a clear turn towards masculinity without sacrificing appropriate grooming needs.
Demand-wise, skin care is the fastest developing subsector of the men’s cosmetics market; mainly attributed to a rising concern over ageing and sun damage. In Canada, protection is needed not only from sun damage but also from the harsh winter climate.
Baby boomers represent the wealthiest demographic segment of Canada’s male population. They have more disposable income than any other group. Male baby boomers have realized that they will continue working later in life and maintaining a professional appearance will be an advantage. Many are living very active lifestyles and want their appearance to mirror their attitude and feelings of youth.
Another important group of consumers for the men’s cosmetics market are men aged between 18 and 44 year old. The younger male consumers in this group, 20-year-old up to 30 are trendy and image conscious. Men in this age segment spend an average of USD$50-60 at grooming salons and USD$113 per month on cosmetic products. This is a very important target group for the future. If loyalty can be established at a young age, the consumer will become a long-term buyer.
Males comprise 49.5 percent of Canada’s total population and 70.4 percent of the male population are those between the ages of 15 to 64. From 2000 to 2005, men’s cosmetic product sales have grown by 21.3% percent in Canada. This growth is also reflective of the shift from labor-intensive industries and manufacturing to service-based industries where appearance is important to remain competitive in the workforce independently from gender.