Nearly 10,000 people in 12 countries were interrogated about their attitudes to beauty and personal grooming by market research firm Synovate.
The survey revealed widely differing views on matters, as varied as product use and the importance of good looks, but one universal theme was the search for masculinity.
Drive to be masculine
“In the end men just want to be men. What that actually means changes from culture to culture, but the drive to be masculine is near universal,” said Bob Michaels, US-based senior VP of Synovate’s Consumer Insights group.
Indeed protecting the idea of masculinity is important in the sale of male beauty products.
Overall, 56 percent of male respondents use products that are specially made and marketed for men with UK and Russian men most likely to pick up male-only products from the grooming aisles.
UK-based Synovate representative John Coll said: “Products that are tailored for men will be less embarrassing to use because they won’t carry effeminate associations that products made for women do.
“The advertising also has to display male characters that are confident about using something ’feminine’ and can assure it won’t take anything away from their masculinity.”
Importance of good hygiene
The particular products that men were willing to line their bathrooms with varied from country to country but as a general rule basics such as toothpaste and deodorant that contribute to good hygiene were most popular.
This comes as no great surprise considering that the survey also ranked good hygiene as the most common factor that women view as being absolutely necessary before she they view a man as handsome; overall 34 percent said good hygiene was an absolute necessity.
However, there were differences in attitudes even in relation to personal hygiene as deodorant use in China was particularly low at 14 percent although more and more men are looking to mask their scents.
Doing a Dove holds the key to male market
Beyond personal hygiene men remained quiete on the subject of male beauty and here Synovate suggest lies an opportunity.
“If you are in the beauty business, it may just be a beautiful opportunity. The brand that ’does a Dove’ for men may well get the issue of a male beauty standard on the agenda, leading the debate... and sales,” said Bob Michaels.