H&BC marketers target male shoppers

H&BC marketers target male shoppers – health and beauty care

Jill Lettich

Recent studies paint a very endearing portrait of the male health & beauty care shopper. This is a relief to the many discount chains and deep discount drug stores that may have thought they had only one shopper: women between the ages of 24 and 50. These women certainly have the shopping savvy and the dollars, but their male counterparts are quickly gaining ground.

The trend toward micro-marketing has already created major ethnic H&BC areas in many outlets. The aging of the population in this country has also been addressed through home health care sections at stores like Jamesway and Hills. Now, men are becoming another target group for merchandisers to focus upon.

While women buy the bulk of commodity products like soaps and shampoos for a family, a number of H&BC product areas are naturals for the male audience.

For instance, personal “maintenance” products like shaving products, deodorants and hair care items are popular purchases among men.

The shaving category is understandably the biggest benefactor of men’s H&B-C dollars. The entire category reached $1.5 billion in 1991, an increase of 30%. The category encompasses razor blades, handles, disposables, lotions, creams, depilatories and accessories.

According to David Weiss, president, Packaged Facts, despite the maturity of the shaving products market, it is expected to grow about 4%, mostly in the razor blades and handles segment.

Industry leaders Gillette and Schick spurred the sales increases. Each introduced new razor handles in 1991: Gillete’s Sensor and Schick’s Tracer. Increased sales of razor blades coincided.

Future growth, according to Weiss, will come from further innovation. “Until shaving is as easy as snapping your fingers, there will always be room for solid innovation,” he noted.

Disposable razors grew at a slower rate, only 3%. The popularity of disposables has shifted from the men’s to the women’s market in recent years.

Weiss believes there is potential for another segment of the shaving market: lotions and after-shaves. It is in this category that marketing and advertising to create an image take on a greater role in determining male buying behavior. Like fragrances, the marketing is key to targeting a particular demographic. (see fragrance story, page 40).

However, Weiss notes that the category includes old-time favorites like Aqua Velva, Brut 33 and Old Spice, but leaves a void in terms of younger male shoppers looking for newer brands.

“Despite the fact that the shaving lotion segment contains many image conscious brands, it could stand some upscaling,” he said.

Some companies, even if they are targeting older men, are trying to establish a stronger image than they have had in the past.

The Mennen Company gave its 60-year-old Skin Bracer after-shave brand a new twist by exploiting the category’s image consciousness. It hired actor Jack Palance for a television marketing campaign that reinforced its manly image.

“Jack Palance is a regular guy, a man’s man with a lot of substance – that’s a perfect match for Skin Bracer,” said Jeff Tarakajian, a spokesman for the company.

The “average male” is a recurring theme in trying to reach male consumers. Aqua Velva sponsors the Regular Guy contest through in-store promotions at mass merchandisers as well as with support advertising. Aqua Velva will announce a “regular guy” winner in November.

Another men’s product area where a commodity product has melded with image marketing is in deodorants. According to Nielsen Marketing Research, deodorant sales to men added up to $300 million, in 1991,31% of total deodorant sales. (Women contributed $650 million to the category.)

The amount men will spend on the category per purchase is also less than women – $9.29 per purchase compared to $10.14.

According to Nielsen, men living in traditional married households are least likely to buy deodorant for themselves. In addition, the man’s living arrangement is more likely to determine the purchasing behavior than either age or income.

Trying to overcome these category obstacles, many deodorant marketers have worked toward creating a strong image for their brands.

Celebrity endorsements are a favorite ploy. Faberge Power Stick tapped Jimmy Connors for its campaign this year. According to Chesebrough-Pond’s USA, makers of the product, Connors was a popular figure in Power Stick’s target audience men aged 25 to 49, whose earnings are above $30,000.

The target customer, presumably projecting Connor’s already strong image, “is a confident, forward-thinking guy who likes to keep up on business, politics and sports. He likes to be in control and sees power positively, as a way to maintain control of his destiny,” said Janet Peacott, a manager, Faberge Power Stick.

Men are also being wooed by hair care companies. Men’s hair preparation products (gels, sprays, coloring products) accounted for more than $98 million in 1991. Mass merchandisers garnered just over $23 million of that total, according to Nielsen.

This may seem small compared to the total for hair care products, which accounted for more than $3.5 billion in 1991. This means that companies such as Dep Corp. limit the range of men’s styling products to suit the smaller market.

The company has two products that specifically target men: Dep for Men spray and Dep for Men gel.

However, Janet Angell, a spokesperson for the company, noted that its “unisex” line of gels also does well among men.

According to Angell, a recent usage and attitude study conducted by the company found that men are an important consumer segment for its standard line of Dep Gels. “The incidence of usage for men as a group exceeded overall category usage by just under 50%,” she said. “The incidence of usage among males aged 18 to 24 is 115% index over category.”

Most discounters and deep discounter drug stores vying for male attention take advantage of cross-merchandising opportunities. Kmart, which has revamped its H&BC area in over 1,000 stores so far, is typical in its merchandising of these items.

Deodorants and shampoos for men are in their respective sections. However, shaving creams and lotions are cross-merchandised with men’s hair coloring products that reduce grey.

Checkouts are also a popular locale for razor blades and disdosable razors.

As men become a force in merchandising decisions, new opportunities are sure to surface in the H&BC marketplace.

COPYRIGHT 1992 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group