GROOM­ING VROOMING

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

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Priyanka Go­lik­eri

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.

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