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Male grooming products rank among the region’s fastest-growing consumer segments. Across Asia, male consumers are spending more than ever to look and feel fabulous, improve their self-confidence, and experiment with their sense of identity.
While Northeast Asian markets have taken the lead in recent years, Southeast Asian men are starting to allocate more discretionary spend to the way they look. To meet shifting consumer demands and desires, brands are expanding their ranges of male-only and genderless facial care, hair care, and beautifying products. Advertising campaigns are also challenging taboos to target metrosexual men who are prepared to invest more in their personal branding.
As transforming male aesthetics could be one of Asia’s biggest consumer stories of the 2020s, here are the factors to consider:
A vast amount of consumer research is being undertaken to better understand and forecast the pathway for men’s grooming and male beauty products in Asia. Unquestionably, there is a high sense of anticipation. The 2020 Asian Man-nerisms report by Mintel describes male grooming as “a hotbed of promises and opportunities with brands entering the category aiming to change the way men are marketed to and increase usage.”
The Men’s Grooming Products Market 2020-2026 report by Research and Markets estimates nearly seven percent compound annual growth for the men’s care market in Asia Pacific from 2020 to 2025. The report notes that shifting male attitudes to personal care products will drive especially strong sales growth in India, Thailand, China, and Indonesia.
The South Korean boy band is the world’s biggest pop act. The Kings of K-pop also assiduously leverage their gender-fluid imagery. Carefully curated clothes, haircuts, and facial products promote each of the seven band members as lifestyle icons as well as a fashion collective.
BTS has signed endorsement deals with Korean skin care and cosmetics brands, and last year opened pop-up boutiques combining music, fashion, and lifestyle in cities such as Bangkok, Singapore and Taipei.
The influencer appeal of the BTS boys is phenomenal throughout Asia. In 2020, the International Business Times even ran an article entitled: “12 Best Korean beauty skin care products BTS members use.”
Constantly evolving their on-stage and off-stage aesthetics enables BTS to continue pushing style boundaries and enhance their influential appeal for brands and fans
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the rise of Asia’s male beauty market has been the innovation of regional brands. Today, South Korean and Japanese male grooming products are not just popular in China but also among consumers in Southeast Asian markets.
Thailand is established as an early adopter of the men’s grooming market while in conservative markets like Indonesia, brands are starting to use male and transgender models to promote genderless facial care and makeup lines.
Homegrown and regional brands are also eyeing growth in Vietnam. As mentioned in our earlier article on Five post-pandemic beauty and wellness trends in Asia, Vietnam’s X-Men brand, which uses sporting imagery to sell its shampoos, shower gels, and fragrances, partnered with the Vietnam F1 Grand Prix. However, the race was later canceled due to COVID-19.
The next steps for male grooming in Asia will involve scale and diversity. Online shopping via smartphones is likely to drive sales expansion. Leading online marketplaces such as Tmall Global, JD.com, Lazada, Pinduoduo, Shopee, and Zalora, already count dedicated men’s grooming and personal care categories, and will support sustained growth for male retail.
Combining skin, body and hair care products with fragrances and grooming tools, the online male segment will embrace new male-centric brands and targeted brand extensions. As consumers adopt experimental elements of male grooming into their lifestyles, stores may carry new shades and combinations of men’s make-up, lip gloss and nail polish. Genderless facial care products, hair dyes, tonics and fragrances and skin-friendly shaving creams are also primed for growth.
As consumers become accustomed to spending on boosting their self-confidence and expressing their individualism, men’s wellbeing may become more integrated. Non-invasive face lifting and body-contouring will complement home-use grooming products.
Consumers are rethinking wellbeing and may be unwilling to undergo chemical-based aesthetic procedures. Instead, they may turn to clinics offering non-surgical body shaping and toning equipment. These “effortless workouts” utilize electromagnetic energy on the abdomen, buttocks, and upper body to achieve that desired ripped look without sweating it out in the gym.
Taking this to the next level, investors in Malaysia are developing end-to-end lifestyle centers. These combine non-surgical aesthetic treatments, body shaping equipment, dental enhancement, fitness training, and nutritional expertise.