Challenging traditional gender norms opens up men’s grooming opportunity in China

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

L'Oréal Men Expert is China's leading brand but there's still room for growth
L'Oréal Men Expert is China's leading brand but there's still room for growth

Related tags: Gender

Challenging the traditional gender norms concerning beauty has given manufacturers a huge opportunity to communicate directly to men as male grooming trends throughout Asia.

Research conducted by Kantar Worldpanel (KWP) speaking to 5300 men across 7 countries to understand the current status of male grooming trends finds that there is a big market to capitalise on in China.

Attitudes towards men’s grooming in China have been changing over recent years with both national and international brands target this segment, and the market is growing.

KWP’s study finds that four in five of Chinese males recognise themselves as being very conscious about their appearance representing a genuine need for these products.

Korea is often regarded as the most developed men’s market, with Thailand and Malaysia also adopting comprehensive regimes, but figures suggest China could catch up and it is here that the opportunities lie.

Room for growth

This is because the adoption of male brands is generally more advanced than other Asian markets; but still has vast room for improvement, as the country’s biggest male brand, L'Oreal Men Expert, only has a penetration of 5%.

“Given increasing saturation of male brands, this growth will increasingly come from competing with, and stealing share from other male brands,”​ says KWP.

So, how to capitalise on the opportunity given the room for growth? According to the research consultancy digital is the key channel for communication.

Digital communication

The study shows that Chinese men are half as likely as Korean men to watch more than three hours of TV but are more than twice as likely to surf the internet for the same period of time, and this is where brand managers can use this heavy online exposure to build awareness through targeted digital campaigns.

“Online also has an important role in the education of men about beauty products,”​ continues KWP. “In the last year, half of Chinese men have used online stores to gather information about fashion and beauty trends.”

“Brands need to ensure that their online portals cater for this behavior, informing consumers about the correct role of each product as well as facilitating any possible purchase.”

Digital word of mouth (WOM) is another crucial channel for brands to actively manage with 55% of Chinese men seeking information about beauty trends from social media. 

Related topics: Market Trends

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