Groomed for suc­cess

The rise of the In­dian male groom­ing in­dus­try

Hair - - Contents -

Male groom­ing was al­ready a boom­ing sec­tor in many parts of the world, and it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore men in In­dia were go­ing to catch on. When Dil Chahta

Hai hit the­atres in 2001, Aamir Khan’s spikey-haired Akash in­spired an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of kids to start ex­per­i­ment­ing with their hair­style. Once this gen­er­a­tion started earn­ing and got their hands on dis­pos­able in­come, the beauty and groom­ing in­dus­try in In­dia was set to be rev­o­lu­tionised. It started off with hair­cuts and styling, but soon evolved into ev­ery as­pect of male groom­ing one could think of.

In­flu­ences from the West

The rise of the in­ter­net al­lowed In­di­ans to have greater ac­cess to movies and TV shows from Western coun­tries, most no­tably the USA. In­di­ans were more than happy to de­vour pop cul­ture in mas­sive quan­ti­ties, and this was bound to have an ef­fect on their choices and per­son­al­i­ties as well. “The in­flu­ence of movies and fash­ion mag­a­zines was al­ways there, but what changed was the rise of so­cial me­dia,” says Mr. Kr­ishna Gupta, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Lloyd’s Lux­u­ries Ltd, which brought Tru­e­fitt & Hill to In­dian shores. He adds, “Pur­chas­ing power has in­creased over the years, but men still pre­ferred spend­ing on watches and shoes. It was the growth of digital me­dia that boosted their as­pi­ra­tions to look good, es­pe­cially due to celebri­ties en­dors­ing the im­por­tance of be­ing well groomed.” All of a sud­den, terms like ‘met­ro­sex­ual’ and ‘man­scap­ing’ were not un­com­mon across In­dia’s met­ros. Mak­ing an ef­fort to look good was no longer con­sid­ered to be a womenonly do­main; men were also ex­pected to make ef­forts to put their best foot for­ward. The ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of foot­ball and for­eign foot­ball leagues soon had In­dian men clam­our­ing to im­i­tate their on-pitch he­roes—a trend that even crick­eters of the na­tional team were not im­mune to.

The coun­try’s FMCG giants spot­ted a grow­ing need for male-spe­cific groom­ing prod­ucts and were quick to de­liver the goods.

Ask and you shall re­ceive

The coun­try’s FMCG giants spot­ted a grow­ing need for male-spe­cific groom­ing prod­ucts and were quick to de­liver the goods. Brands such as Pond’s, Garnier, L’Oréal, Nivea, Dove and Hi­malaya in­tro­duced a va­ri­ety of care and groom­ing prod­ucts specif­i­cally tar­geted to­wards the male seg­ment of the mar­ket, go­ing as far as hav­ing ‘men’ be­come a sub-brand. Com­pa­nies like Gil­lette and Old Spice, which have tra­di­tion­ally catered to the male groom­ing sec­tor, vastly ex­panded their range of prod­ucts on of­fer. The abil­ity of these brands to re­spond quickly to grow­ing de­mand has been in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the male groom­ing sec­tor as a lu­cra­tive one.

The start of some­thing beau­ti­ful

While FMCG brands have played their part, it is per­haps the start-up phe­nom­e­non that has truly taken the In­dian male groom­ing in­dus­try to the next level. Start-ups such as Beardo, Us­traa (by Hap­pily Un­mar­ried), The Man Com­pany and Bom­bay Shav­ing Com­pany have man­aged to in­tro­duce a pre­mium feel and dis­tinct sense of lux­ury to the sec­tor. From face washes and safety ra­zors to beard oils and mous­tache waxes, the new crop of male groom­ing brands is a sign of just how far the in­dus­try has come. Ac­cord­ing to global mar­ket re­search firm Euromon­i­tor, the In­dian men’s groom­ing mar­ket is grow­ing rapidly enough to reg­is­ter sales of

R14,200 crores by 2020, and a large part of this is due to the suc­cess of these start-ups.

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