{This article is a part of our Around The Internet Series featuring articles from key news sources. Originally published June 2014, Fashion Institute of Technology Capstone Project: Excerpt Only. }

Over the past decade, men’s grooming has been dubbed “the final frontier” of beauty, poised to take the industry by storm. With over 138 million men in the United States comprising about 50% of the population (Census.gov, 2014), it presents a true goldmine of untapped users. But have brands been able to crack the men’s code?

Men’s grooming is a $35 billion global industry, with the U.S. holding a 17% share. The $5.7 billion U.S. men’s grooming market has grown by 7% in the past five years, with a focus on basic needs products such as deodorant, shampoo, and bar soap. Meanwhile, the global men’s market has grown at 23%, more than three times faster than the U.S. during the same five-year span (Euromonitor, 2014).

South Korea has grown at 67% and China at a staggering 157%, driven primarily by sophisticated categories such as skin care. If the U.S. grooming market had matched global growth, it would already be a $7 billion industry today.

While historically it has been a challenge to engage U.S. men in the categories that enjoy success abroad, the economic crisis of 2008 has fueled major shifts in gender roles, behaviors, and attitudes among men. Men were most affected by the recession, with a job loss rate nearly 50% higher than that of women, an economic phenomenon coined “the mancession” (Investopedia, 2009). The current marketing model does not reflect the authentic needs or values of the modern U.S. male consumer.

The state of masculinity is at a tipping point, creating an enormous opportunity for brands to finally get men’s grooming right. Imagine a future where men are as comfortable shopping for grooming products as women; where men see relatable images reflected back at them in retail channels and  advertisements; where men have an authentic need and desire for grooming products and use them to curate their own version of masculinity.

Billions of dollars are being left on the table simply because the industry has not made it a priority to understand men’s authentic drivers, and reach him through the people, places, images, and  communication style that he truly connects with. We cannot adopt a women’s model to reach men, we must look towards the changing landscape of masculinity to identify new needs and genuine  consequences.

Applying the 4G Growth Engine backed by the support of the industry will create the perfect storm needed to construct a more sophisticated men’s grooming market in the United States. This fresh approach offers a compelling opportunity for the future of the beauty industry. Men today are evolving, and we must evolve with them. Now is the time for the men’s grooming movement.

{Authors: Simone Bolotin (Coty Prestige), group leader; Colleen Celentano (L’Oréal), co-leader; Renee Bukowski (IFF); Alexandra de Lara (The Estée Lauder Companies); Michael Kremer (L’Oréal)}



{Image:Tom Ford}

1938 is the online magazine blog for Well-Kept Beauty, formally entitled Primer.

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