According to a newly published report from Research and Markets, a growing willingness by men to spend both time and money on their appearance and increased activity within the men's magazine market - have favored the men's toiletries and fragrances market.
But it has not all been a bed of roses for the category. At the same time demographic trends have worked against it, with a decrease in the number of younger men, particularly within the key 25 to 34 age group, the report, entitled Men's Toiletries & Fragrances Market Assessment 2005.
Traditionally it is this age group that has spent the most on cosmetic and toiletry products, but with demographics shifting towards an aging population bias worldwide, the mainstay status of this category is diminishing.
This shift means that increasingly marketers and industry experts are pointing to the increasing potential in the over 50s, or seniors category. What is driving growth in this category is the more open approach to male grooming fostered by the increasingly image-conscious baby boomer generation who are now starting to make up the younger members of this age group.
However, despite population change, overall the market has continued to show good year-on-year growth, which can be attributed to strong new product development (NPD) and to the fact that companies have improved their understanding of how to market toiletries and skincare products to men.
Much attention has been paid to the retail environment for men's toiletries and fragrances; high-street and multiple retailers have put effort into trying to find the right way of presenting the products so that men are comfortable purchasing them.
Evidently there is no golden rule to marketing men's grooming products, but a distinct lack of fuss is often seen as a winner, even in the most sophisticated and luxurious categories. Although a recent report from Mintel points out that the time men devote towards grooming is on the rise, excessive attention to personal care is still commonly associated with effeminacy.
The Research and Markets report highlights the fact that body sprays and deodorants still make up the largest segment of the male toiletries market, but their share has decreased as other segments - notably skin care and hair care - have become more important.
The market for men's fragrances grew strongly during the first 4 years of this decade, the report also points out. However, successive interest rate rises during the first 9 months of 2004 had an effect on sales of many types of luxury goods including fragrances - and led to a slight slowdown in growth.
This research also demonstrates that a high proportion of men are very involved in the process of choosing their own toiletries products. More than half say that they are responsible for both choosing and purchasing these items. Almost a further quarter say that, although they usually leave the actual purchasing to someone else in their household, they usually give instructions as to which brands, and which particular products, they would like. Fewer than one in five leave the whole process of choosing and purchasing the toiletries they use to someone else in their household.
However, the research also revealed that there seems to be relatively little enthusiasm for ranges of toiletries that are specifically designed for men, or for the idea of matching fragrances for a range of male toiletries products.
Manufacturers of toiletries may have to work hard in order to gain brand loyalty among their male consumers, with relatively few men saying that they have quite strong feelings about toiletries brands, the research finds.
The market for men's toiletries and fragrances is forecast to continue to grow at a steady rate over the next 5 years, led mainly by new product development. The European male personal care market - including skin care, personal hygiene, hair care and fragrance products - is expected to rise 18.2 per cent to €24 billion by 2008, according to Datamonitor.
In America sales are also predicted to surge from a recorded $23 billion in 2003 to $27.2 billion by 2007, with haircare products accounting for over a third of product sales.