Is India’s E-commerce boom giving rise to a generation beauty-conscious men? While India boasts some of the world’s most beautiful women, sales within the beauty sector suggest that men are increasingly concerned with keeping up appearances. There are several cultural and economic factors that play into why the male beauty market is growing in India. But, recognizing this enormous opportunity, Quantified Commerce an Indian vertically integrated company, has been building digitally native brands within the men’s grooming and beauty space for the past four years.
Currently, as the Internet continues to penetrate further into the country and the number of smartphone users plans to rise to shy of 500 million by 2022, the E-commerce market is expected to rise by 1,200% by 2026. Within this market, beauty is the fastest-growing segment. But, men are the majority of those shopping on E-Commerce sites, and that comes down to demographics and cultural differences.
Indian’s use their smartphones to access the Internet 80% of the time. But, men are much more likely to access the Internet through these means. First, men outnumber women in India. Second, culturally, men and women are viewed differently within India. Women are much more likely to borrow a male friend or family member’s smartphone than have their own. Sometimes, especially in rural parts of the country, families fear that the independence that comes with smartphones may be bad news for their daughters.
So, for those cultural reasons, the profile of the average online shopper in India is a man between the ages of 25 and 34. While apparel and electronics are currently the largest-growing segment in India’s E-commerce, beauty is the fastest-growing, and since the average shopper is male, you know they’re buying up beauty products like never before.
Men in India crave products specifically catered towards their own beauty needs, and are sick of sharing their wife/girlfriends or female family member’s shampoos and creams. For example, L’Occitane launched a range of products exclusively for men. “It totally surpassed our expectations,” said Mitsu Dhawan, head of marketing for L’Occitane India. “It contributed 20% (to the sales) within a month of its launch.”
It’s true, that across the board, sales are up for men’s beauty products. “Data confirm that the sales of men’s face creams have more than doubled, while the use of face-cleansing products among men in India has jumped a massive 60 times between 2009 and 2016,” says a Nielsen report on India’s beauty market.
But, the reason why Indian men are investing so much in their looks isn’t to impress the ladies, but to look good at work. “This surge in the adoption of male-grooming products points to two key-drivers – confidence and to achieve a competitive edge over other males in career growth rather than to attract females,” the Nielsen report said.
The rise in the number of Indian men concerned with grooming has led to some investments in strictly male brands. For example, Marico, a Mumbai-based company, bought a 45% stake in Beardo, a beard oil brand.
Quantified Commerce has been tapping into the potential of the men’s beauty market in India for some time now. “There is enormous potential in the men’s grooming and skin care market,” says Ryan Andreas, co-founder of Quantified Commerce. “Especially as the middle-class in India is growing and men are increasingly becoming part of the workforce, they are really starting to care about their appearance. They are tired of using their girlfriend’s and sister’s hair and face products. They want something exclusively for them.”
That’s why Quantified Commerce has been successfully building and marketing male-oriented brands and products since the company’s inception. “Women are no longer the only ones who strive to look good,” Andreas says. “Especially because men are the primary online shoppers at the moment, they really need products made just for them. Men care as much about their appearance as women do.”
Women may still be the fairer sex, but men are certainly concerned with looking good in today’s world. As the Indian middle-class continues to expand, men want to look as presentable as possible at work to help their career prospects. They deserve to have brands that help them achieve those goals, and boost their confidence.