Are urban Chinese men infatuated with using cosmetics to improve their appearances and chances at success?
“Growing disposable income, fashion magazines such as Chinese editions of Esquire and GQ and the desire to find a competitive edge at work are driving demand for men’s skincare products,” reports Bloomberg.
The Chinese men’s skin-care market is projected to reach $269.6 million this year, according to Euromonitor who also forecasts annual growth of 29% from 2009 to 2014. This compares to a paltry growth of 6% for North America and 8% for Europe.
Since men’s skincare sales is only 1% of the total beauty and health-care market in China, it’s upside potential is huge given its small base.
“Chinese men are now more concerned with appearances and projecting an image of success,” Shaun Rein of China Market Research Group told Bloomberg. “First, they were spending on watches and pens and shoes as a status symbol, then five years ago they were focusing more on apparel, and in the last three years there is a real upsurge in male cosmetics.”
While the skincare trend is far from mainstream, it is popular among China’s metrosexuals — originally defined by journalist Mark Simpson as the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are) — who are less traditional, and more image conscious.
“In the last five years, China has seen an explosion of marketing towards men, from glossy Chinese and imported magazine to L’Oreal’s use of actor Daniel Wu to represent its men’s cosmetics line, urban Chinese men are now surrounded by images of the less-masculine, better-groomed metrosexual male,” Jason Inch, co-author of Supertrends of Future China told the Global Times.
This group is perhaps the most promising consumer market because they will spend.
Shane Zhang, a 28-year-old who sells magazine advertising in Shanghai, spends about 1000 yuan ($150) a month on his appearance. While Liang Guang, a 29-year-old architect in Beijing who first got into cosmetics from watching a television commercial, recently spend 280 yuan ($42) for Shiseido Men’s Moisturizing Emulsion.
Topping men’s bestsellers: L’Oreal’s Men Expert line, which is the No. 1 brand helping L’Oreal take a 32 percent share of the Chinese market in 2009, domestic brand gf’s creams and lotions, followed by premium skincare products by Shiseido, Dior, and Clinique.
photo credit: l’oreal