Cosmetics and male consumers

Individuals have become more conscious about their appearance. Due to the changing gender roles, men started using cosmetic products increasingly. As a result, the male cosmetic market, considered a niche market, has grown enormously.
In the men’s cosmetics market, until the end of the 1990s, beauty products for men were almost non-existent on the market and in stores they were not valued in a dedicated space, so men used products strictly in a utilitarian aspect. In 1985 the L’Oréal group launched the Biotherm Homme brand, the first expressly designed for men, for this reason the French group is considered a pioneer in the men’s cosmetics sector. For over 10 years the brand has been virtually unchallenged, its claim proclaimed the need for men to take care of themselves, combining pleasure and well-being. This record was eroded, initially by Nickel in 1996, a brand exclusively for men, creating male beauty institutes, and then launching a cosmetics line dedicated to men. By means of a concept consisting of two offers, products and services, the brand has noticed the opportunities offered on the market. The Copernican breakthrough in the field of male cosmetics took place in 2001 with the entry of Vichy and Clarins, the following year, then Nivea, Phytomer, Klorane, to name a few still present with their own lines on the market. Thus, many brands have begun to seriously consider the entry into this rapidly developing market segment, in such a way a real competition has been created. Cosmetics is synonymous with seduction, beauty and pleasure, what women want when they look for cosmetics suitable for them. However, these words do not adapt to male cosmetics, although there are no big differences between products for the two sex genders, the two markets are well differentiated. Men do not have the same approach with regard to the product, the motivation lies in the fact that the offer cannot be the same for both genders, consequently the advertising message and the packaging must change, for example, in addition to the product composition. Thanks to several changes, mainly social, such as the mentality of the new male generation, the appearance of the «metrosexual», social liberalization of homosexuals and the fact these men want a youthful appearance. All this has changed the relationship between men and cosmetics, nowadays they admit that they also seek pleasure and well-being in the use of cosmetics. Over time, cosmetic companies overcome some taboos that men did not think they could break: how to take care of the skin, then introduce epilation, the use of anti-wrinkle creams, hair care to attend beauty institutes. The interest of men for their appearance can be summarized in the following points: most attach importance to their hair, followed by taking care of the skin and many like to try new things and take the time to take care of themselves. The ideal product, for most men, must have some properties such as being invisible, pleasant to wear, easy to use and with an efficient result. Therefore, men look for a product that suits them, their needs and desires. The male cosmetic market is still expanding. Analysts agree that this market has passed the stage of innovation and has not proved a passing fad, now it is a consolidated segment with still a strong potential, the demand will grow again thanks to the behavior of the new generations, more and more feminized. In addition, the male is a particularly faithful target, so once convinced by the use of the product, he will remain a customer. On the supply side, companies present new cosmetic lines unceasingly, men will be spoiled for choice. Many well-known cosmetic brands, specialized in the women’s market, have launched a range reserved for men in order to benefit from a rapidly growing market, the evolution of mentalities and anticipate the market itself. Many companies have taken advantage of their reputation in the women’s segment, even before entering fully into the men’s cosmetics market, thanks to the credibility and image they already possessed.

The challenges of the industry
In a market hungry of novelty and rapidly developing, players have to face various problems to operate successfully. First of all, a specific cosmetic offer is required, since the male skin has well-defined characteristics, different from those of the female skin, investing in research and development to guarantee the product appropriate to the target, obtain the image of the male beauty specialist with a wide and deep offer, very often this recognition is obtained after having made the consumer loyal with products for shaving, finally a correct distribution based on the male target of reference is essential. By now, in the western world the use of cosmetic by man has been cleared, but there are still market brakes, according to the mentality and customs, so it is necessary to define and analyze the customer’s behavior. The specialists are questioning whether it is possible to identify a common behavior among men, taking into account the different mentality, customs and practices in different areas of the planet. You have to consider the impact on the image and the way the person sees herself.

Consumer behavior
Talk about consumers without mention the behavior is not possible, since we need to analyze the decision-making of individuals regarding consumption, taking into account the social and economic context and the interactions with the psychological aspect. Understanding these mechanisms provides many advantages for managers in their decision making. The analysis of consumer behavior will help to better understand the psychological and sociological factors that affect the customer. The keyword to consider is beauty, appearance plays a key role in the professional, personal and social universe. The image the individual projects outwards is the essential element in the framework of its relations with others and beauty is a reference value, synonymous with success and self-fulfillment. Personal hygiene and appearance, he took part in the self-confidence. Fitness, health and appear young became a need in both professional and personal relationships. The interest of men for cosmetics derived from awareness of the usefulness of taking care of your body and its image. For the contemporary man is important to maintain an attractive body, is to feel good about himself that, and is the main motivation, improve the image seen by the other, which implies the need to take care of themselves.

The influence of social factors and lifestyle
The male consumer behavior, in relation to cosmetic products, is influenced by different reasons. Self-esteem and self-image play a fundamental role and the components of self-concept include physical, psychological and social attributes, which can be influenced by the attitudes, habits, beliefs and ideas of the individual. Consumers demonstrate consistency between their values and the products they buy because their consumption behavior is linked to their self-concept. You choose a certain product when product attributes correspond to some aspect of the consumer. Then assumes a cognitive process that puts at the attributes of the product and the consumer’s self-image. Since many activities are related to the definition, it is not surprising to observe that consumers demonstrate consistency between their values and their purchases. There are models of congruence of self-image that suggest that consumers are choosing products when their attributes correspond to some aspects of the self, people buy items to create an image of themselves, property consumption may and function as material symbols to represent a person who wants to be, possess certain tangible means showing a certain type of identity in relation to other people. When consumers buy a product meet the needs, which are influenced by their culture and beliefs. The cultural environment influence the way people live and behave. You can define the lifestyle as a consumption pattern that reflects a person’s choices about how to spend their time and money, from the perspective of psychologists people present themselves to the world so that others are interested in stay or engage in mutually beneficial relationships with them. Then social beliefs explain men’s cosmetic consumption lifestyle.

Purchasing behavior
The lifestyle has a major impact on consumer purchasing behavior, lifestyle determinants (such as social class, values and personality) have a huge impact on the behavior of individuals towards the consumption of products, since the goods, as such, are important for the creation and expression of cultural identity. More career-oriented men tend to be more interested in their appearance because of their lifestyle, try cosmetics and beauty treatments to enhance their appearance, in addition, those who live in urban areas and in large the city is likely to use more cosmetics than those living in smaller cities, where it is less felt the need to look very nice. Based on earlier statements we can hypothesize that explain lifestyle purchasing behavior of men in buying cosmetic products and services.

The advertising message
Advertising is part of the strategy used by marketers to promote their products. The publicity could also be an important factor to increase and raise the number of men in the use of cosmetics and personal care products, dedicated to them. Various studies agree in saying that the males show positive attitudes and are affected by the use of cosmetics by means of advertising, as the advertisements help create awareness in humans. The male model proposed in commercials advertising of cosmetics influence men’s purchasing decisions. This could be related to the expectation that elicits the advertising message in a person, give the reasons for using certain products for the benefits arising from the use by combining the results to the claim, such as in advertising for skincare using attractive men with beautiful faces and clean. As in the case of women’s cosmetics, some marketers use celebrities in advertising their cosmetic products that help change the perception of men towards the cosmetics, to make them feel more comfortable with the idea of consumption of products of beauty. The purchase situation, as the store environment and its location, could affect purchasing decisions by men, but that depends on the social situation, what is true in the far East it is not said that it is in the Americas. Generally, for men shopping is better to do so with minimal effort and time than women, for which the purchase process is an experience.

Purchase and consumption of cosmetic products has been labeled as a specific behavior of women. Over time, due to the change in values and lifestyles, new standards have been established for male consumers, with a process that begins with aftershave and shampoo that has led to personal care and cosmetic products developed specifically for men consumers. This evolution in male tastes could be attributed to social development, the impact of this change is very marked in postmodern societies. Postmodernism has changed the cosmetic consumption of men, hitherto committed to strict attitudes towards cosmetic consumption, cosmetic products have become important for men in order to define their concept of self, increase their self-esteem and create new life styles. Therefore, it would appear that male consumers use cosmetic products not only for the tangible benefits they provide, but also for the meanings that are transmitted by consuming them. The image of oneself and lifestyle are two important factors useful for explaining the behavior of cosmetic consumption by men. It is important for marketers to analyze these constructs, as people buy items to create the desired image for themselves.

Self-image and self-esteem
Advertising campaigns and promotional messages based on self-image and self-esteem are highly recommended for attracting male consumers. Furthermore, the societies where individuals reside form social beliefs, the latter seem to be a significant factor in explaining lifestyles. As a result, marketing experts should focus on the values that are important to their consumers when they advertise or sell cosmetics for men.

Consumer behavior and gender
Consumer behavior should be of the utmost importance for marketers and retailers in a highly specialized market, such as cosmetics, to position their products in relation to specific groups of consumers. There are various aspects that play an important role in shaping consumer behavior and one of them is gender. In a society, there are certain behaviors and expectations that are deemed appropriate by gender. In fact, the purchasing behavior of men and women differs greatly.

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by Marco Colombini, economic analyst