Men are finally realizing the importance of great hair (and stylish lack of hair!) in looking good, feeling great and – of course – attracting women. That’s why, according to Datamonitor, global men’s hair care sales continue to surge forward, reaching US$2.4billion in 2003. Surprisingly, Japan scoops almost half of these sales (US$1.15billion), with the US second at US$727 million – a 12.4% rise on 2002. Sales are being driven by the increasing numbers of young men interested in capturing the highlighted and edgier looks of media stars, and older men paying more attention to keeping the color and thickness of their younger days. While younger men catch up with fashion; “creating” naturally messy hair, the older generation is busy preventing the first grey hairs from catching up with them.
This has led to substantial gains from a rash of new male-specific products in hairstyling gels, mousses, waxes and pomades. US men often pay more attention to the styling products they use in their hair, as opposed to shampoos and conditioners. Men who previously purchased value brands of shampoos and 2-in-1s are trading up to speciality lines believing they will achieve best results by using styling agents, shampoo and conditioners by the same brand. A perfect example of this is the success of Colomer’s American Crew hair care line. The brand includes a wide selection of hair care items, including shampoos, conditioners, styling products and hair thickening agents, as well as shaving and skin care balms, and shower gels. Many men first began using American Crew styling agents after receiving recommendations from barbers and stylists on maintaining their hairstyles. Satisfied with the results, they then began using other products offered by the brand.
Young men have clearly become the key target group for manufacturers in this sector. The increasing time-span between gaining financial independence and setting up a family is one significant factor in the burgeoning importance of young men as a consumer group. Even before financial independence is attained, young men now are able to exert an increasing amount of purchasing power due to declining birth rates in many developed markets. This, and the continued desire of ageing baby boomers to conceal their thinning and greying hair should guarantee strong sales gains in this sector for the foreseeable future.