The beard products category is a fixture, albeit for a small quasi-luxury segment of consumers, according to Denise Garcia, who reported on the phenomenon for CNBC this past weekend.
Euromonitor reports that last year the men’s toiletries segment was worth nearly $3.5bn. That segment includes products formulated and marketed for the growth and maintenance of men’s beards, like beard shampoos, conditioners and styling products. While by contrast, the shaving market grew more slowly to reach only $2.9bn.
Skin care devices are in on the trend too. Clarisonic, a L’Oréal brand, markets its Alpha Fit skin care cleaning tool to men with and without beards. The “new cleansing device for men, is designed to cleanse men’s skin 6X better than using hands alone and effectively cleanse both shaven and bearded skin,” explained the company in a statement to the press when the tool debuted last October.
Garcia connected with a number of grooming industry insiders to get a fuller perspective on the beard product category.
Trend forecaster Philip Fimmano of Studio Edelkoort tells CNBC that the man who wears a beard is "very sensitive, and not afraid of taking care of his appearance," and goes on to assert that, "although beards may look unruly to those who don't have them, it actually requires a lot of beauty."
Garcia quotes Dylan Yazel, owner of the product line Bearded Pleasures, on the staying power of trend. Yazel believes the market may be limited but that it is certainly resilient. His brand finds consumers in salons where he thinks loyal grooming consumers gather.
And, beard historian Alun Withey tells Garcia, "I wouldn't be surprised if the rise of products for beards stay….I think it's established itself as a niche."
It may very well be a niche market, but it’s a market nonetheless and one that is distinctive. The needs of this consumer aren’t restricted to demographic nuance but rather clearly defined by personal tastes and preferences. This, in and of itself, is an informed indicator of things to come in the personal care business.
Beards, like all taste-driven markets, are poised to endure and flourish as a micro category in the beauty business: “The slow decline of clean-shaven faces has given rise to a new male archetype, one that's becoming a coveted market demographic in its own right and spurring the rise of small businesses that cater to pampering hairy faces,” Garcia affirms.