You could rely on most Indian men to look drab except at early dates and weddings, but that is changing now.
India’s male-grooming market is worth over Rs 5,000 crore and it is growing rapidly because Indian men now want to scrub up, not to impress women but for brownie points at work, according to a December 2017 report from Nielsen.
“This surge in the adoption of male-grooming products points to two key drivers – confidence and to achieve a competitive edge over other males in career growth rather than to attract females,” Nielsen said in the research note on India’s beauty market.
Men in urban India, with their growing disposable incomes, awareness of the latest trends, and concerns around appearances are spending some serious money on beauty products.
This marks a significant shift from the days when Indian men used women’s products for the lack of better substitutes and stuck to a very basic grooming routine. Over the last decade, demand for male-grooming products has pushed companies beyond selling shaving gels, deodorants, and razors. There are now made-for-men shampoos, fairness creams, and even beard balms on the shelves.
In fact, Nielsen data suggests that men are buying far more face washes and creams than a decade ago.
“Data confirm that the sales of men’s face creams have more than doubled, while the use of face-cleansing products among men in India has jumped a massive 60 times between 2009 and 2016,” the report said.
Giants like Hindustan Unilever, L’Oréal, Nivea, and Marico are mowing profits as Indian men get conscious of their hair, beards, and more. But it does not stop there; 2017 was a blockbuster year for mushrooming male-grooming startups.
In March, Mumbai-based Marico, which already sells Set Wet hair gel for men, bought a 45% stake in Beardo, a beard and hair oil brand. Then, in December, Kolkata-based Emami picked up a 30% stake in The Man Company to capitalise on the online male-grooming market.
Clearly, it is time to make more space at the dressing table.
This article first appeared on Quartz.