Revolutionizing Grooming: How New-Age Brands Are Transforming the Men's Grooming Landscape in India
•The Men's grooming market is expected to grow to INR 19,500 Cr by 2026 from INR 13,660 Cr in 2022 with fragrances and toiletries commanding a higher growth rate.
•The gap between average spend by women and men on grooming products is expected to narrow over time with the increasing basket of men's grooming products and frequency of purchase.
•Traditional players have created access to the premium and niche consumer segments of new-age brands through inorganic growth. Some traditional players already had male grooming brands in their portfolio but those were primarily targeted at the mass market. They required a swifter entry into the premium care segment, yet they lacked the agility and innovative prowess showcased by these emerging brands.
•Some proxy growth indicators include the rise of male grooming hashtags on social media, a multi-fold increase in website visitors across the category, the change from style status to essentials, and the increasing adoption of a dermatology-based preventive approach.
The Male Grooming Market – Investments by VCs and Strategic Investors
The male grooming or men's grooming sector has attracted investment interest from VC funds with the total funding surpassing $100 mn. Bombay Shaving Company stands out as the top-funded company, having raised a total of $48 mn to date. The sector has also witnessed several strategic investments in recent years, including Marico's acquisition of Beardo, Emami’s investment in The Man Company, Reckitt and Colgate in Bombay Shaving Company, and Wipro in Ustraa and LetsShave.
A few of these companies had existing male grooming brands in their portfolio but were positioned for the mass market. They needed faster penetration into the premium care segment; however, lacked agility and innovation, which these new-age brands demonstrated. Hence, they took the inorganic growth route to enter the market through acquisitions or stakes.
From Functional to Holistic: The Evolution of Men's Grooming Expenditure
For decades, men's grooming was primarily centered around functional products that served essential needs, such as fragrances and shaving products, and men often turned to female skincare products for their grooming needs.
Today, the notion of men's grooming has become more holistic, including beard, skin, hair, or body care, and puts emphasis on the overall experience. It was considered to be a lukewarm category with a limited range of products, contributing a mere 11% to personal care revenue despite men constituting 52% of the population. However, men's expenditures on grooming products have seen a noticeable rise, comprising a combination of 15% on fragrances, 42% on toiletries, and 43% on shaving products.
Industry Landscape and Key Categories
Industry Journey - Rise of New Players and Niche Product Categories
A market that was previously dominated by primarily two brands, Old Spice and Gillette, has seen a surge of new participants since 2015 such as Beardo, Bombay Shaving Company, Lets Shave, Svish, etc. Started with beard care products, the segment has now expanded to skin, hair and body care products. These players have identified and filled a gap that was overlooked by FMCG players and have created new niche product categories that were unheard of around a few years ago. What was considered as style traditionally has changed to become a utility while retaining the styling aspect. Ex. A new-age player like Nykaa announced its plan to launch Nykaa Man. This is a market that has constantly innovated and kept up with market trends and requirements.
Moving away from a one-size-fits-all, these brands developed multiple variations of a single product to cater to diverse customer needs. Their influence prompted established brands to create men-focused products. Ex. Cavincare announced its plan to come out with a line of men's grooming products, The Body Shop increased its line of male grooming products to 12 from 1. Barbershop culture has also been picking up and the companies like UrbanClap have launched a whole list of services catering to men’s grooming at home.
Recent FY23 revenue numbers have marked significant milestones for brands such as Bombay Shaving Company (INR 186 crs), Beardo (INR 107 crs) and The Man Company (INR 200 crs+). This growth in the sector and increasing investors and strategic interest has led to the emergence of numerous companies, pushing the count of companies in the sector to more than 50.
Trends Driving Growth of the Sector for Investors
1. Cultural Factors and Exposure
The evolution of men's grooming can be attributed to multiple trends, including strong cultural acceptance, increased exposure to social media, international trends and celebrity culture, technological progress and innovations aiding in developing tailored products for men, and an overall awareness of fitness and wellness. Independent and conscious decision-making rather than herd mentality is far more visible today. Customers using male grooming products are conscious about their presentation, hygiene, and personal image both personally and professionally. This is reflected in the products and brands they purchase within the category from different companies. Brands too are beginning to understand this and are focusing on the health and wellness benefits rather than selling on hyperbole and masculinity. No-shave November and Movember are some innovative trends by startup brands. We are also expecting to see an entry of international trends like genderless nail polish, men’s make-up lines, and male cosmetics in the coming years.
2. The Reshaping of Male Grooming Beyond Metros
The male grooming category is witnessing a mindset change not just in urban areas but also among affluent sections in smaller towns and rural India. Prior to the pandemic, growth was primarily observed in metropolitan areas, but following the onset of COVID-19, non-metros also began purchasing men’s grooming products. The only distinction between the 2 markets is that the average order value and frequency are greater in metros due to a higher disposable income.
3. Omnichannel Strategies and Expanding Horizons in India
Tier 2 and 3 cities have started making significant contributions to the pie. While customers in metros prefer digital payments, customers in tier 2 and 3 cities prefer cash payments and a touch-and-feel experience from offline channels. Hence, adopting an omnichannel strategy is essential, involving presence across marketplaces, websites, and applications.
The scope of male grooming products has expanded beyond beard, skincare, or hair care. Brands are innovating newer sub-categories, such as hair removal sprays, and footcare products, driven by the current desire of young men to groom body hair, intimate care, anti-aging, SPF and UV rays, etc. while the increase in dermatology and cosmetology-based botox and fillers in the jawline area are some international trends. At the same time, there is also a horizontal expansion into men's sexual wellness as a category and a strong conversion between beauty and health/wellness, giving rise to men-targeted nutraceuticals. Anti-pollution, sustainability, paraben-free, chemical-free, etc. are additional niches.
Unveiling the Future: Growth Prospects in India's Male Grooming Market
The male grooming market in India is expected to grow from INR 13,660 crs in 2022 to INR 19,500 crs in 2026, with shaving products increasing at a CAGR of 7%, toiletries at 11% and fragrances at 13%.
The gap between average spend by women and men on grooming products is expected to narrow over time with the increasing basket of men's grooming products and frequency of purchase. Today, the products that a 20-year-old uses compared to a 40-year-old differ significantly, and this discrepancy in product preferences is poised to widen even further as more products are introduced.
There is a huge headroom as the male grooming segment is anticipated to account for more than 40% of the total revenue from India's beauty and wellness industry by 2030 from the current 11%. Some proxy growth indicators include the rise of male grooming hashtags on social media, a multi-fold increase in website visitors across the category, a change from style status to essentials, and increasing adoption of a dermatology-based preventive approach.
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