The segment is doing so well that it is now said to be evolving from traditional grooming products like hair and skin care to specialising in foundation, mascara and eyeshadow, products long associated mainly with women, becoming must-haves for men as well.
A recent report from market researcher Kline, noted that despite Europe still occupying the position as the largest men’s market, it is in Asia where the pace has really picked up, wherein men are seeking to retain a youthful and appealing look.
"[We have seen a] major cultural shift observed across all age groups of men in countries previously reluctant to extend male grooming beyond basic cleaning and shaving. Essentially, this is opening up a largely untapped market that consists of half the population," explains Nancy Mills, Kline's Consumer Products Practice Industry Manager.
Region reports boost in male cosmetics
As Euromonitor estimates that South Korean men spent about US$493 million on skincare back in 2007, an amount that has now jumped to US$836 million five years on, other analysts reveal that most cosmetics stores in Seoul feature a men’s section offering products like escargot serum and even color cosmetics for men serving mandatory two-year military service.
They report that the trend is becoming so popular that it has spawned a nickname for the pretty boys – the grooming tribe, with entire TV shows even devoted to male makeovers..
Brands up the ante to keep up with demand
Japanese brand SKII recently launched its first global men’s line in South Korea where the facial treatment essence goes for $140 a bottle. At the company's boutique spa in Seoul, male clients are said to regularly shell out anywhere from $225 to $450 for facial and body treatments.
Meanwhile, new male staff at a training session for Korean Air, were treated to a 'image making' class, whereby professionals advised on how best to apply skin care products, sunscreen and BB creams.