grooming is becoming a priority for Indians, especially men. ACNielsen surveyed 25,408 Internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and West Asia about their attitudes to personal grooming, what and how often they invest in beauty products and treatments, and what they would spend, and on what, if money were no object.
On the whole, 30 per cent Indians said that they had increased their spending on beauty products and treatments to enhance their appearance, and 80 per cent of the respondents surveyed felt that the pressure to look good today are higher than they were in their parents' generation.
For the general population in India, it seems, beauty begins with beautiful hair. According to the survey, 36 per cent of the respondents invest monthly on hair care. Surprisingly, the percentage of men investing monthly (37 per cent) on hair care is significantly more than the percentage of women (28 per cent) who do so.
Among Indian men, 78 per cent of the respondents feel that it is okay for men to spend time and money to improve their appearance. According to the study, 84 per cent of the respondents felt that Indian men are more interested in grooming today than they used to be. It is interesting to note here that 100 per cent of the respondents under the age group of 20 agreed that men are more interested in personal grooming than they used to be, indicating where the change is actually stemming from.
Though consumers indulge in a lot of grooming, certain treatments are expensive. When asked what they would opt for if money were not a constraint, a majority voted for a body massage (61 per cent). Hair care (56 per cent) is the second choice and facial treatment (44 per cent) the third in line. For women, both body massage and hair care are priorities, with 59 per cent voting for both.
Skin whitening and tanning are amongst the other grooming activities that people indulge in, though in India, the percentage of people going in for these is quite low compared with other countries. In India, 3 per cent of the respondents claimed that they go for skin whitening and 7 per cent go in for tanning to look good.
People in the Asia Pacific region, China, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines in particular, make an effort to enhance their appearance daily, weekly or monthly through hair care (66 per cent), skin care (57 per cent), facial treatment (40 per cent) and a host of other applications such as body massages, skin whitening and teeth whitening.
"In the last few years, we have seen Indians indulging in grooming, health and wellness. The Indian market is now mature enough to accept specialised products meant for specific purposes, rather than a mass general product," says Sarang Panchal, executive director, customised research services, The Nielsen Company, South Asia. He adds, "Now it's for marketers to promote products which cater to these niche requirements and the sooner someone identifies and understands the need, the better the chances of success."
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