What men want: Increasing knowledge of skin care among men driving demand for solution-driven products
What He Wants is a Singapore-based distributor that was founded by Tan Seng Hwee in 2007 that mainly serves consumers in the South East Asian region.
The online-based retailer offers over 1,000 male grooming products from shampoo and facial cleansers to eye serums and eyebrow treatments.
Tan founded the company on the belief that the desire to look good was universal and men also had a keen interest in taking care of his skin to look his best.
Since then, Tan has observed the SEA male beauty market grow considerably with more male-centric brands entering the fray.
The company started out the business 13 years ago representing around 30 male-centric cosmetic brands but now stocks over 100 brands.
This male beauty trend has been accelerated by the high exposure to social media and celebrity influencers, which Tan believes is fuelling the growth of the segment.
“We’ve always believed that men are concerned about looking good. Just that in the past men had no access to information about skin care, but with the Internet and social media, men's knowledge about beauty products have grown tremendously,” said Tan.
In recent years, Tan has observed male consumers becoming more sophisticated in their choices.
“They are not just looking for basic products like cleansers, toners and moisturisers. Now they are looking at products like serums and looking into anti-ageing products when they hit their 30s.”
Tan believes that like women, men are looking for high-performing products that can give them results.
“For them, skin care is an essential rather than a luxury. What they are looking for are solutions, so the products must be effective and show fast results. Price is not really an issue if its effective and provide a solution.”
While marketers may think the male consumer is less engaged and less likely to seek out information as their female counterparts, Tan believes this is changing and the hunt for the best skin care solutions is driving male consumers to delve into skin care research.
“In the last two years, we’ve noticed our customers becoming more knowledgeable in term of ingredients. They are researching into ingredients and they are becoming close to having women’s knowledge about skin care.”
Make-up a new necessity?
According to Allied Market Research, the male personal care market is expected to hit $166 billion by 2022.
“This is a trend that will definitely continue because there are more brands that are catered to men right now and people will want to try different products,” said Tan.
Moving forward, as more male-centric brands and products available, men will become more comfortable trying traditionally feminine products such as make-up.
In the past five years, Tan has seen an uptick in the use of make-up products such as BB creams, powders, concealers, mascara and eyeliner.
Similar to how they view skin care, Tan said men saw make-up as a necessity rather than a product to enhance and beautify.
“Among make-up, concealers and powders are the most popular. The people that look for these products include people who are going for interviews or have public speaking engagements.”
However, he does not rule out that this behaviour will change, especially with make-up products like lipstick and eyeshadow becoming increasingly common in markets like South Korea. “It could be something like Korea one day, we just don’t know when.”