Growing at an aggressive pace, start-ups operating in the men’s grooming segment are expanding presence offline and in international markets like US, Canada and Europe
Appearance-conscious men never had it so easy. Thanks to the growth of a slew of startups focused around niche segment of male grooming, gone are the days when men had to choose from a handful of generic products mostly promoted by healthcare brands. Loaded with premium essential oils and supposedly free of damaging chemicals, ylang ylang and charcoal face wash, moringa and shea butter antiageing cream are just a few of highly-specialised products that have carved a new space in the market.
“Due to an increased focus on looks and appearance by the urban Indian consumers, men are beginning to look at innovative grooming and personal care products created specifically for them. Men are travelling more, gaining greater exposure and awareness to male grooming products,’’ say Priyank Shah and Ashutosh Valani, founders of Beardo, an Ahmedabad-based venture initially focused around beard grooming. It has now expanded into skincare and haircare for men.
According to Hitesh Dhingra, founder and MD, The Man Company, the key customer base comprises evolved men from tier-i and -II cities in the age group of 26 to 40 years. “The noticeable trends within different states are interesting. Markets like Kerala and Punjab are driving the growth for beard grooming products, whereas consumers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are buying more of charcoal scrubs and masks.”
The market for male grooming in India is growing at a compounded annual rate (CAGR) of 15%, says data by Techsci Research and will reach $3.3 billion by 2022. Globally, Euromonitor estimates suggest the market will reach $60.7 billion by 2020.
Sensing the potential, several fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) biggies have picked up stakes in such ventures. Marico bought 45% stake in Beardo two years ago, Emami acquired a 30% stake in The Man Company and Colgate Palmolive invested an undisclosed amount in Bombay Shaving Company.
Experts believe FMCG companies benefit the most by leveraging the data and analytics might of the startups that can help them trace customer habits, preferences and can quickly respond to market needs.
“The escalating market potential and stake by FMCG companies has provided start-ups with a new fillip,” said an expert. Start-ups are also enhancing their offerings through offline channels such as retail outlets, salons and grooming parlours.
Pooja Nagdev, founder, Inatur, a start-up that retails grooming products which combine Ayurveda and aromatherapy, says they are witnessing a growth of 50% per annum. “We plan to get into more exquisite and resultsoriented products and ingredients. We reach customers through online platforms and through stores.”
Even start-ups with unisex grooming products like Gulnare Skincare claim that over 55% of their clientele comprises men. “We have grown almost 400 times over the past year. We have also recently launched our skin sanctuary in Hyderabad that will encourage customers to come, test and try before they buy,” says Shonali Bedi, founder, Gulnare Skincare.
Beardo is looking at a panindia presence through over 25,000 outlets in the near future. The Man Company, meanwhile, is making its presence felt though over 350 select premium salons where they offer services like beard spa and royal shaving therapy, besides making their products available at over 250 premium specialty outlets across India.
According to Dhingra, The Man Company aims to grow 150% over the next year. “We are aiming to capture 25-30% of the market share in the male grooming segment and are aiming to be at a Rs 100 crore annualised run rate by end of 2019.”
Some firms are also eyeing international expansion. Bedi says they are in talks with e-commerce platforms in the USA for their products. “We have been supplying to stores in Paris and London and will add more cities to the list. The international market is aware of the benefits of organic living and is a huge arena to tap into,” adds Bedi.
The Man Company, which is present in the Middle East, Malaysia and Canada, plans to consolidate their business in these regions, says Dhingra.