From Mom and Pop to $50 Billion
If you visit the personal car products aisles of any major retailer, you can observe a modern marketing miracle. In a little over a hundred years, the personal grooming and care market has gone from nearly zero to $50 billion. The number of products for and used in the process of personal grooming are in the thousands.
What is remarkable about all this growth is that it comes from concerns over appearance and grooming that are relatively new to society. We take it for granted that people have always had their hair styled and nails trimmed. The truth is that for centuries, there was little attention paid to personal care by the working classes. This is a little detail that most historical movies and television shows miss.
Even for the wealthy, limited numbers of products existed for use in grooming. The first effective shampoo was not created until the 1800s (when hair cleaner was first called shampoo). Deodorants were unknown before 1888, and the idea of a hair conditioner for men was inconceivable before late in the 1900s.
So Many Choices
Until recently, men's grooming supplies consisted of a bar of soap, maybe a straight razor, and now and then some scissors for the beard and hair. A man faced few complicated grooming choices.
That is not the case today. Studies show that women buy over 70% of all personal grooming products, including for men in the household. Whether it is a woman or a man, deciding what to buy is a challenge.
The combination of science and marketing are the forces driving this ever-increasing variety of products. As scientists gained more knowledge about the biology and chemistry of the human body, they introduced more varieties of products for care of that body. The field of marketing came to maturity as these products came to market.
The marketers have become adept at both creating markets for the new products, and conducting detailed research for finding additional grooming needs and desires. A product such as Suave shampoo scents exists because effective marketing creates a demand for it.
Selecting Products for Men
It is a concern for marketers that men simply do not put the priority on grooming found with women. They conduct a great deal of research seeking products that more men will add to their grooming routines. Grooming products companies spend tens of millions of dollars in advertising targeting men and their grooming habits.
These efforts produce some results. The growth in sales of grooming product for men has outpaced other segments. It is a tough process, however. The core research shows that men want products that are functional and effective. As a group, they are very brand loyal and not willing to take the time to sort out confusing marketing and product claims.
There is no indication that the companies will give up trying. Dozens of new products for men come to market each year. A market that is already confusing continues to provide even more selections.