man has taken over the grooming bastion from women with a bang. Getting dressed up, splashing after-shave or applying moisturiser were the things associated with male grooming till a few years back, but times have changed now. According to a Nielsen survey on male grooming, conducted amongst 1,000 SEC A and B men in the four cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad, every second Indian man has a monthly date with a beauty salon.
Call it the SRK effect - the iconic actor has been associated with advertisements promoting grooming habits among men. Emami and Lux are two prime examples. As a result, metrosexual, a relatively recent term, is now a familiar term at beauty salons where youngsters go for different beauty treatments till now associated only with women - manicures, pedicures, facials, waxing, et al.
"Whether it is increasing disposable incomes or greater exposure to the West, men indulging in a daily beauty regime does not seem a far-fetched idea at all. Looking ahead, one can only speculate about the good times ahead for marketers targeting the male form," says Vatsala Pant, associate director, client solutions, The Nielsen Company.
Besides visiting a beauty salon, one in three Indian men claim they visit a hair salon two to three times a month. Besides the ubiquitous haircut, head massages and hair colouring are the next two most popular activities for men at a salon. It's interesting to note that getting their hair coloured is more of a priority than a head massage for men in Mumbai and Delhi as compared with men in the other cities surveyed, especially among those aged 25-30 and earning Rs 10,000 and above.
Though Indian men have started experimenting with more specific products relating to skin care, wrinkle care and eye care, thus far, only 11 per cent of them indulge in facial treatments. The survey indicates a huge potential for threading, pedicures and manicures with less than 5 per cent men opting for such treatments.
Meanwhile, the men's skin care market not only faces competition from within the industry, but must also compete with other sectors in which male consumers spend their discretionary money. More than half of the men surveyed said they would rather spend their excess cash on eating out or recreation, trendy clothes and new accessories, than on personal grooming activities and related products.
"Someone who enters the salon with an open mind will soon be tempted to try newer services. In the status-conscious society of India, beautifying might rank ahead of basic grooming; and a fair skinned male might even become the basic qualification for every prospective groom," commented Pant. "Whichever way we go, beauty and grooming categories can go only northwards."
The survey was conducted amongst working men, age 25 years and above, SEC A and B, in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. With a sample size of 1,000, interviews were done as commercial area intercepts across the geographical spread of the city.