Inclusivity is now the uncompromising standard for beauty brands

New Delhi (IANSlife) Indian men are becoming increasingly self-aware and skin-care is losing its retrograde ‘girly’ tag. Men are investing in grooming products and going beyond beard products, leaning more into skincare and hair care products, in order to fortify their self-confidence as well as wellness.

The men’s grooming market has been the fastest growing segment of the beauty industry, and it will only grow. The scope for both men’s Makeup and Skincare in India has seen an increase. It is a natural reflection of the growing global trend; especially amongst younger millennials and what is popularly called the post-millennial demographic; who living in an era of less typical, or less rigid gender definitions.

Male make-up has increasingly become the norm in certain industries in India. For example, we see it in all kinds of creative and performance arts, where the make-up assists with aesthetic expression: such as fashion, theatre, etc.

But it is still a nascent space with immense potential for further growth. The male grooming segment is worth about Rs 5,000 crore annually and ASSOCHAM’s latest report encouragingly pegged the annual growth rate of India’s male grooming industry at about 45 per cent, Shankar Prasad, Founder of Pureplay Skin Sciences (Plum and Phy) tells IANSlife.

Conversations for inclusive beauty are not new. Consumers, celebrities and brands have been vociferously pushing the cause over the last several years, challenging some of the traditional stereotypes set forth by the beauty industry. Inclusivity is the uncompromising standard that today’s consumers hold beauty brands to.

It was important over the last several decades to be inclusive. Now it is downright a matter of survival for brands.

Many beauty brands are identifying opportunities and viewing inclusivity as a competitive advantage. Brands need to remember the consumer they cater to is ethical, hyper-alert, hyper-connected and unforgiving of poor experiences. Disingenuous brands lacking follow through will find themselves walking down the road to self-slaughter, says Prasad.

“As more consumers are identifying with a healthier sense of self-worth, ethical businesses that respond with customized product offerings for different skin tones and skin types, will succeed in driving deeper market penetration.”

Beauty brand Colorbar recently ventured into men’s grooming range. Samir Modi, Founder and Managing Director, Colorbar, says the thought behind the brand venturing into the segment is that “Colorbar understands that the male grooming industry is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of about 45 percent, and so, shifting the dialogue from male hygiene to male maintenance is the next step. Today’s man gives a lot of emphasis on his sexuality and appearance, embracement of masculine traits and so on.”

He adds: “At Colorbar, we have seen that our male consumers are very active, and are continuous buyers of our Eye pencils, liners, brow kits, primers, concealers and foundations – amongst essentials for men, including nail lacquer. We are seeing them match the female audience in their love for our shadow palettes and highlighters as well! This makes us very happy, because as a brand we proudly represent the idea of genderless, inclusive beauty.”

But has the market mostly remained untapped? “Great potential is not limited to the ability to make great sales. When your business stands for something good, it creates a participative experience for many more to do good and be good. Consumers today want to be a part of something big. And they are aware that their buying choices and their voices have given them that power. It is undoubtedly a market opportunity if we wish to view it as that,” says Prasad.

He added: “The long existing standards that were set by the industry were exclusive in nature. They also strummed self-deprecating behaviors in users if they fell outside of the so called desirable standards set by the industry. Customization and evolving trends that shatter stereotypes will help expand consumer base and build brand loyalty.”

According to the 2018 Accenture Holiday Shopping survey, 70 percent of millennials are more likely to choose brands that demonstrate inclusion and diversity. Evidently, being inclusive means that in one swoop you build meaningful relationships with consumers seeking out brands with a purpose and alongside reach the customer base so-far excluded by brands with a negative voice, he concludes.

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