Category Outlook: Male Beauty Market Growing in China

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KEY POINTS

China’s male grooming market is performing well and is projected to continue to grow quickly. Urban Chinese men, particularly millennials, are increasingly image-conscious, and they spend more time and money on grooming than do male consumers in other demographics. We think that many grooming and beauty brands will further target Chinese male consumers to drive revenue growth in the coming years.

  • Euromonitor International estimates that male grooming  category sales in China will post strong year-over-year growth of 6.8% in 2018 and reach ¥14,220 million ($2,084 million).
  • Urban Chinese men spend more time grooming themselves for different occasions than do those living in other areas, and millennial men, in particular, are showing a willingness to invest in beauty products: urban male millennials in China spent an average of ¥194 ($28) per month on beauty products over the past year, according to Prosper Insights & Analytics.
  • Grooming and beauty brands have been developing different marketing campaigns to target the specific needs of male consumers in China. For example, L’Occitane has hired Asian pop idol Luhan as its brand ambassador.

Strong Retail Performance in the Chinese Male Grooming Market

China’s overall beauty market continues to grow apace and male demand for beauty and grooming products continues to accelerate in the country. As with many fast-moving consumer goods categories, male grooming products—from basic personal hygiene items to skincare and cosmetics—have been flying off the shelves in the booming Chinese retail landscape. While the beauty spotlight has traditionally been on female consumers, men are becoming a significant driving force in China’s multibillion-dollar beauty industry.

This report, which is part of our Category Outlook series that reviews the prospects for specific markets, takes a look at the growth and characteristics of the male grooming market in China.

This year, the total market for male grooming consumables in China will be worth an estimated ¥14,220 million ($2,084 million), according to Euromonitor International. Retail sales of Chinese male grooming products have risen steadily over the past five years, and the category recorded strong year-over-year growth of 6.9% in 2017. This year, Euromonitor expects such sales to rise by 6.8%.

Chinese male consumers’ grooming needs are not confined to basic personal hygiene items. Skincare is by far the biggest of the male grooming categories in China, generating around ¥7.4 billion ($1.1 billion) in sales in 2017 and growing by 6% year over year, according to Euromonitor. Men’s fragrances achieved the highest growth among all men’s grooming categories in 2017, with sales increasing by 16.7%, per Euromonitor. The firm expects men’s fragrance sales in China to increase by 14.3% year over year in 2018. These figures suggest that Chinese men are trading up from basic, traditional men’s grooming categories such as shaving to less-traditional categories such as skincare and fragrances.

Euromonitor further estimates that the male grooming sector in China will grow by 6.5% in 2019, well above the expected global category growth rate of 4.9%. Given these figures, the male grooming market in China has much room to run in the coming years.

Millennials Are Driving the Male Beauty Trend in China

Urbanization in China has cultivated a desire among many consumers for a sophisticated lifestyle, and young, urban Chinese men increasingly identify more sophisticated dressing and grooming regimes with personal success:

  • A 2015 Statista study on personal grooming found that Chinese men spent a weekly average of 2.2 hours on personal grooming.
  • According to 2016 research by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on men’s attitudes toward beauty products in China, 39% of men ages 20–30 who were surveyed said that they used skincare or makeup, while only 29% of surveyed men ages 31–45 said the same.
  • • A 2017 study by CBNData on grooming product consumption by Chinese men born in or after 1995 revealed that young men are more receptive to using cosmetics or light makeup such as BB cream than are their counterparts born in the early 1990s.

Chinese millennials are becoming an increasingly important purchasing force in the men’s skincare and cosmetics market. Survey data from Prosper Insights & Analytics show that Chinese millennial men ages 18–34 spent an average of ¥194 ($28) per month on beauty products between June 2017 and June 2018. That figure is 9% higher than the average spent per month by all Chinese men surveyed. The purchasing power of these millennials should not be ignored, especially as their disposable incomes will continue to rise as a whole as more new graduates join the labor force.

Brand Campaigns Are Targeting Chinese Male Consumers

Many brands have seen the opportunities presented by the rising demand for male grooming and beauty products in China, and have implemented marketing campaigns to target Chinese men. For example, seizing on the demand for flawless skin that has been fueled by South Korean pop culture, L’Occitane has featured Luhan, formerly a pop music idol in South Korea who has returned to his homeland of China to continue his entertainment career, as its brand ambassador.

Nivea, part of the German group Beiersdorf, has long offered male grooming products in China. According to Beiersdorf China, the Nivea Men business has become the firm’s largest business in China, and the company expects it to grow further, driven by the popularity of online and mobile shopping.

L’Oréal Paris, one of the pioneering brands in male skincare, launched the L’Oréal Paris Men Expert line as its flagship, mass-market male skincare brand in 2005. In the following years, it featured many top Chinese male celebrities as its brand ambassadors. For example, Daniel Wu, born in the 1970s, appealed to consumers as a sophisticated gentleman representing the brand, while Jing Boran, born in the late 1980s, appealed to many teenage fans. Chinese audiences are highly familiar with TV advertisements featuring these celebrities promoting the brand’s cleansing and toning products.

Key Takeaways

Male beauty products are growing in popularity in China, fueling retail sales of male grooming categories in the country. Skincare products are contributing a larger portion of these sales than in the past, as the market has expanded beyond basic hygiene needs such as shaving and bath and shower products.

Chinese men are increasingly willing to spend time grooming themselves daily and to invest in beauty products. This is particularly true for young Chinese men born in the 1990s; these millennials are eager to use different products in order to pursue their ideal appearance, and brands are using targeted marketing campaigns to influence the consumption behavior of these young, digitally savvy consumers.

The development of the male grooming market in China represents major opportunities, and we expect more beauty brands to pursue the country’s young male shoppers in the coming years.