Jul 28, 2017
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UK men's skincare market set to decline, but high-end is stronger - Mintel

Jul 28, 2017

Older men in the UK feel more confident than ever about their looks and are happy to ‘age gracefully’. But this could be denting sales of skincare with the men’s sector set to see a decline this year, according to new research.

UK men's health and beard obsessions could be hurting skincare sales says Mintel

And while younger men might be seen as more open to female-style skincare regimes, their primary focus appears to be their facial hair with their spend shifted towards beard grooming products rather than skincare.

A Mintel study shows that 75% of men aged 65 and over feel confident about how they look, compared to 56% of men aged 16-24 and an average of 61% of all men. And while 67% of all men say they look good for their age, this increases to 71% of those aged 65 and over.

But while they feel good about their looks, not all of them feel that way because they care for their skin. In fact, they don’t seem to mind the ageing process with 78% of men saying it’s acceptable to have some wrinkles, and 68% agreeing that skin ageing is a natural process that can’t be stopped.

Not that they ignore their looks completely. Some 38% say they check themselves in the mirror throughout the day, although that seems to be primarily a youth obsession as it rises to 65% of those aged 16-24.


So what does all that mean for the male skincare sector? With 51% of men believing that a healthy diet is enough to maintain the appearance of skin and 39% feeling that skincare products contain unnecessary chemicals, it’s not good news. Mintel predicts sales of men’s skincare products will decline this year.

The category was worth £104 million in 2016 and a 4.7% drop in expected in 2017 with a further 7% fall over the next five years to a value of £93 million.

But that decline is unlikely to be evenly spread across the sector if recent declines are anything to go by. Mintel said mass-market male facial skincare declined by 1.5% between 2015 and 2016, but the value of prestige male skincare grew 2.8% over the period.

The decline overall is unsurprising given that only 15% of male moisturiser users apply such products more than once a day, while 28% use them a few times a week. Some 28% of men who use facial skincare products use them when their skin feels like it needs them and 24% say they use them when they remember to do so.

It gets worse. Currently, the top facial skincare products is nothing more than soap (87%), followed quiet a way behind by moisturiser (50%) and lip balm (38%). There has also been a sharp rise in the number of men using facial wipes which grew from 26% in 2016 to 32% in 2017.

Roshida Khanom, Associate Director, Beauty & Personal Care at Mintel, said: “It appears that high confidence may be impacting usage of facial skincare products, as many British men do not think they need to use them. This suggests that products should target maintaining appearance, rather than ‘fixing’ a problem. Highlighting the benefits of long term and regular use is crucial in ensuring good facial skincare habits.”

She also believes the fact that so many men believe a healthy diet is enough to maintain the appearance of skin and that products contain unnecessary chemicals suggests that some men may actively avoid facial skincare products and instead use diet to maintain their skin. As such, products with a natural positioning and limited ingredient lists could appeal more to men.

But while the facial skincare sector is struggling, facial hair remains a growing trend among British men and they’re buying ever more products for their beards and moustaches. Usage of beard products has risen from 18% in 2016 to 23% in 2017 and 38% of men say they pay more attention to their facial hair than their facial skin. While 68% of men are removing hair from their jawline, more than half (53%) of them agree that it is fashionable to have a beard.

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