From grime to groomed

Updated: 2011-09-23 08:39

By Zhang Xi (China Daily)

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 From grime to groomed

The men's skin care market is slowly growing more popular in China, according to Chinese cosmetics companies. A Qing / for China Daily

More Chinese men pay attention to facial cosmetic products

It's the first thing people see, and the last thing that most men think about: the health of their skin. Up until now, women have typically been more obsessed with the look, feel and color of their skin, apparent by the abundance of products that line the healthcare aisles of supermarkets.

However, times are changing, says Dale Preston, managing director of retail measurement for consultant Nielsen Greater China.

While the male skin care category is still developing in China and only accounts for around 8 percent of the total skin care market, it is growing very fast, at more than 35 percent last year.

"In other Asian markets, we see this category developing very quickly, and so China males are following a similar trend," Preston says.

"The male skin care category in China is still heavily dominated by foreign multinational brands and this presents an excellent opportunity for local players to create products that appeal to local consumers.

Though men are starting to take care of their skin, skin-whitening products are not part of the daily process.

"Men do not want to look feminine, so they seldom lighten their skin. Skin-bleaching goods are not the mainstream. Rather, products that keep men's skin healthy are the focus of the market," says Xiao Bu, a skin care specialist who often introduces beauty tips on TV shows.

Preston says that within facial care, facial cleansers is the biggest market at 54 percentfollowed by facial moisturizers with 37 percent.

Domestic company Shanghai Jahwa agrees, indicating Chinese men pay more attention to cleansing and anti-aging products. "Few men want to whiten their skin, so there is a small market of male skin-whitening products in China," the Shanghai-based company says.

Famous foreign companies, such as L'Oreal, are still developing their male skin care business in China. Bao Yanyue, general manager of L'Oreal Paris in China, ensures the business of men's skin care products is booming.

"Compared with the diversity of women's skin care requirements, men's demands are relatively small. Merchandise focused on moisture and oil control account for about 90 percent of the market," she says.

According to Euromonitor International, men's skin care market will surge by 24.4 percent in China in 2012. Sales of men's health and beauty merchandise in China will overtake North America's numbers this year and probably grow five times faster each year until 2014.

The agency says the men's skin care market in China may reach $269.6 million this year, compared with $227.4 million for North America. It forecasts an annual growth of 29 percent from 2010 to 2014, compared with 5.7 percent for North America and 7.9 percent for Europe.

It seems Chinese men are catching up to their Western counterparts when it comes to taking better care of their skin. Alex Xiang, 32 from Hubei province, developed a skin care regimen only after arriving in the United States.

"Men here are using lotion and creams to protect their skin, so I learned from them. Facial cleansing and moisture lotions make me look fresher," he says. "When I am back in China, I continue to use them and urge my male colleagues to do the same."

(China Daily 09/23/2011 page11)


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