Male Market Growing Faster Than Women’s
The new face of Asia may be Shum Pak-hin’s. Every morning, Mr. Shum puts on a gel mask and then applies a day cream, a sunblock and sometimes a bit of eyeliner. At night, the 21-year-old Hong Kong native uses eye make-up remover, cleanses his skin and then applies an anti-age serum. The routine isn’t cheap: He spends about 3,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$387) a month on skin care and cosmetics. His biggest splurge: a HK$2,000 whitening cream by La Prairie.
“My skin ages very easily, much more than others,” says Mr. Shum. “This isn’t just for girls. Boys want to feel good, too.”
Mr. Shum and a growing number of men like him are making Asia one of the fastest growing markets for men’s skin care. The region accounts for US$2.1 billion, or 64%, of the $3.3 billion spent globally in 2013 on such items as male skin creams, lotions and whiteners, according to data compiled in April by Euromonitor, a market-research firm.
That amount dwarfs the $286.4 million spent by North American men and the $682.9 million used by Western European males on the same products. China, including Hong Kong, is the largest market for men’s skin care, at $974.8 million, an amount that’s forecast to grow to $1.2 billion this year. In second place is South Korea, which spent $635 million.
“This is where the market’s development is happening. It’s very concentrated in Asia,” says Nicole Tyrimou, a beauty analyst for Euromonitor in London.
Men are still far from rivaling women—the women’s skin-care market is valued at more than 30 times the men’s at $107.6 billion. But men’s skin-care products are growing at a much faster pace, 9.4% compared with 4.8% for women’s skin care.
The most enthusiastic adoption, by far, is in South Korea, where male celebrities, like singer and actor Rain, have long endorsed skin care in billboards and television ads, paving the way for broader acceptance. South Korean men spent US$25.30 per capita on skin care in 2013—more than three times second-place Denmark. Asian countries account for five of the top 10 countries in per capita spending.
“There is a wider idea of skin care being effeminate in many countries, but in Korea this doesn’t seem to be the case,” says Simon Duffy, co-founder of the U.K. brand Bulldog, which started selling its line in Korean stores last year.
Some retail experts attribute Asian men’s relative affinity for skin care to simply following the lead of the women around them. “If your mother has a nine-step skin routine, which happens a lot in Korea, you’re going to do five,” says Ms. Tyrimou.
Like Asian women, Asian men are interested in whitening creams to lighten their skin’s color.
Alexis Perakis -Velat, vice president for Asia Pacific at L’Oréal SA, believes climate is a large factor in the growing male beauty trend because much of China and Korea has cold, dry winters and hot, humid summers. “When you live in central China in winter, you’re happy to put a good hydrating cream on your skin,” says Mr. Perakis-Valat. The executive added the men’s beauty market in China is growing two to three times faster than the overall global beauty market for men.
Some brands say more work still needs to be done to make men’s skin care seem less feminine—especially at the department stores and drugstores where it’s generally sold.
“The main obstacle is that department stores are not really a masculine environment,” says Laurent Lautier, president of Asia Pacific at Clarins.
But back in Hong Kong, Mr. Shum, who also writes a beauty blog, says he doesn’t view skin care as a women’s preserve. He says he became interested in men’s skin care at the age of 17 after watching a male friend demonstrate his own routine.
“Before our generation, men hated skin care and didn’t want to do it,” he says. “But the culture is different now.”
To find out more about the importance of facials and natural skin care products, please contact Skin Care Plus. We use and recommend the best natural and organic skin care products available. We also offer other skin care treatments that can help with anti-aging and overall skin health, including the best facial in the greater Chicago area, including Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.