US Insights

American men pull back on personal care products

Ross Tucker

Executive Editor Kantar US Insights

Brands 10.23.2019 / 09:00

man shaving

American men are the least likely to splurge on their personal care routine.

American men are behind the curve when it comes to personal grooming according to new research from Kantar.

An analysis of the behavior and attitudes of 22,000 men across eight countries found that the proportion of men who say they spend lots on beauty products has risen from 17% in 2015 to 21% today.

“Globally, it’s a promising picture for beauty brands and manufacturers," said Marina Alba, personal care specialist at Kantar. "Men are increasingly comfortable buying, using and enjoying grooming and care products and are developing a better knowledge of what’s on the shelves.”

However, the maturing men’s beauty market is accelerating at different rates worldwide. American men lag behind, ranking as the least likely to splurge on their personal care routine. Less than half of American men say that their looks are important to them, compared with the global average of 55%. In addition, while a majority of men across all countries say they are interested in including professional beauty treatments in their care regime, American men are less positive in their attitudes to pampering and less likely to indulge in it.

Facial Hair

“There are areas which remain a challenge for the industry, as well as an opportunity to drive engagement with personal care," said Alba. "In the US, for example, half of men are still not seeking out 'for men' products for personal grooming. Additionally, American men are heavily value driven and are 7% more likely than average to buy a personal care product because it represents good value. Brands should take a step back and look for ways of enticing them into the sector.”   

While American men may lag other countries in their attitudes to personal care, there is evidence that their behaviors are changing. Face wash, for example, is now used by 1 in 4 men worldwide, with more American men using these products regularly (30%).

Although American men are less concerned about their personal grooming than their global peers, there is a recognizable disparity between generations. Younger Americans are three times more likely to keep up with trends and fashion than their parents’ generation and 24- to 34-year-olds are a key group for brands to consider, as they are the most interested in maintaining their appearance and spending lots on beauty products.

Globally, the trend is that men are becoming more involved with personal care, with the number of men categorized as heavy users rising by 3 percentage points from last year to 26.5%. Men who are heavily involved in their grooming routine are 4% more likely to say that they do whatever they can to look young, 3% more likely to spend lots on beauty products and 3% more likely to say they buy the latest brands and products.

The study also shows that the rise of facial hair shows no sign of slowing down, as the number of men opting for “the clean-shaven look” continues to see long-term decline. 46% of men across all eight countries are clean shaven today, down from 62% four years ago. As a result, fewer consumers are using hair removal products in an average week, especially in Western Europe. American men are the hairiest of all with only 42% reporting to be clean shaven, compared to 88% of Chinese men and 59% of Polish men.

“There is still hope for the category as there is still a role for shaving among men with facial hair if brands hit on the right message," said Alba. "US men with facial hair are more likely to be motivated to shave to feel more attractive, and for special occasions.”

Source: Kantar

Editor's Notes

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