A study by Euromonitor International has found that there has been a significant increase in South African men’s interest in grooming.

The surge was observed mostly in skincare, with a lot more men investing in these products. An 8% retail volume compound annual growth rate was observed, with the research revealing that more local men were likely to visit salons.

Speaking to DESTINY MAN, Sorbet Man GM Natalie Ruwers says that the franchise has seen a definite increase in South African men investing more in their appearance.

“Men have definitely increased their spending on grooming products and services. In our Sorbet Man stores, both the treatment and retail sales are increasing on a monthly basis,” she says.

“For years, men have been restricted to using female products and forced to visit beauty salons, as their needs were not catered for in the market. This is one of the reasons why Sorbet launched its male grooming salon, Sorbet Man, and together with Clicks, its own grooming product range to cater for this growing demand and to meet men’s grooming requirements,” Ruwers adds.

However, the research also found that because of economic issues impacting the country, some “less affluent” men were opting for much cheaper products and some had stopped buying them.

READ MORE: Tsakani Mashaba: Paving the way for African male grooming

“A weak rand resulted in many imported products seeing price increases and many economic imports disappearing from store shelves. Consequently, mass men’s skincare saw a sharp 5% decline in retail volume sales in 2015 over the previous year,” the study reads.

Unilever has lead the men’s grooming revolution in the country, making up almost 18% of the value share in 2015, mainly because of its large and diverse offering of well established and recognised brands.

“The company, however, lost almost half a percentage point in value share in 2015, chiefly due to its absence from the most dynamic product area, premium men’s fragrances,” the research says.

The media is also placing pressure on men to look after themselves through the metrosexual trend and celebrity endorsements. Their partners are placing additional pressure on them to look their best.

Ruwers goes on to say that part of the reason many more men are taking care of themselves is the pressure placed on them by the media and because they are becoming more health conscious and this has flowed over to their looks and appearance.

“Men are becoming more aware of the need to look after their skin and themselves in general. The increasing awareness about the importance of grooming among millennials has also contributing to the growth of this market,” Ruwers says.

“The media is also placing pressure on men to look after themselves through the metrosexual trend and celebrity endorsements. Their partners are placing additional pressure on them to look their best.

Men now have the opportunity to visit grooming bars like Sorbet Man that cater for the regular guy, who can suit up, glove up, dad up and man up to investing in his swagger, without fuss,” she says.

The grooming market in SA has also grown partly because of the focus of many brands on male-specific grooming issues, such as razor bumps, oily skin and issues of pigmentation.

This is something that entrepreneur Tsakani Mashaba has tapped into, starting her own grooming range that’s specifically formulated for African men, called Michael Makiala for Men. In a previous interview with DESTINY MAN, she explained what motivated her to come up with this product range.

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“I was at the salon one day and realised that a lot of guys were using methylated spirits, and that was the foundation of my intrigue to go a little bit deeper to see why guys use this and if there were other alternatives,” she said.

She eventually realised that while there are an array of products available for women, the situation wasn’t the same for men and that’s when she started her business, back in 2010.

Euromonitor International’s study does offer hope for the future of the sector.

“As the economy recovers in the forecast period, men’s grooming has a strong potential for growth. Many men are keen to look more attractive and youthful, with this particularly beneficial to sectors like men’s skincare. The retail decline seen in the area at the end of the review period is thus likely to be a temporary setback, with many men returning to these products, as economic confidence rises in the forecast period,” the research paper concludes.