With the fashion for facial hair still going strong, new research from Mintel reveals that the nation’s love of the beard is hampering sales of men’s facial skincare. Sales of men’s facial skincare products* increased just 1.3% to reach £104 million in 2015, following a market increase of 13% in 2013 and 8% in 2014.

Mintel research indicates that a savvy shopping mentality has impacted sales of ‘mass market’ beauty and personal care products, resulting in a decline of -0.3% in 2015 and a market value of £65.7 million. Indeed, today as many as 42% of men say they take advantage of a discount when shopping for beauty and personal care products.

But it isn’t just savvy shopping which is hampering growth, as reluctant older male skincare users have had a negative impact on sales. Indeed, while as many as 60% of 16-24 year old males use moisturiser, this declines to 41% of 45-64 year olds and just 29% of males aged over 65.

What’s more, although moisturiser (49%) is the second most commonly used male facial skincare product after soap (84%) the trend for facial hair has resulted in fewer experiences of dry skin caused by shaving. Indeed, moisturiser sales continue to be challenged by the fact that men have less visible skin to moisturise and are shaving less often, with post-shave being a key usage opportunity.

Overall, when looking at usage across the facial skincare category, one third (35%) of British men use lip balm, while slightly fewer (33%) use a facial cleanser. Meanwhile, three in ten (29%) use a facial exfoliator or scrub and one quarter (26%) use face wipes.

Sales of men’s facial skincare products* increased just 1.3% to reach £104 million in 2015

Charlotte Libby, Senior Beauty Analyst at Mintel, said:

“The male facial skincare market was considered buoyant in 2013, following a host of product innovations and men moving towards a more elaborate grooming routine. However, two years on, the market shows signs of stalling. Sales growth is being hampered by discount retailers and price promotions, as well as simplistic skincare and the fashion for beards. While British men are open to using moisturiser, they show limited interest in expanding routines to encompass a wider range of products, and as moisturiser is most frequently applied after shaving, the fashion for men to have facial hair is further dampening sales.”

In an effort to revive skincare sales amongst men with beards, the market has witnessed innovation in beard care products. One fifth (18%) of all men use a beard product, for example a wash or an oil, rising to 28% of 16-24 year old men. As these products become more mainstream, sales growth is expected to lift in 2016.

Regionally, those living in London are passionate about keeping their beard in tip-top condition, with as many as one third (34%) of all Londoners using a beard product, compared to one in 10 (9%) males in Yorkshire and Humberside, according to Mintel research.

“Men are no longer assumed to fall into two categories – bearded or clean shaven – and male facial skincare brands are beginning to offer tailored products for a variety of facial hair lengths. The trend towards beard care products is expected to continue throughout 2016. While product innovation in the beard care segment can go some way to returning sales growth for the overall category, this must be matched with marketing to convince men of the need to use specifically designed facial care products. Expanding the range of products by length of beard or stubble, as well as those to minimise hair growth or prevent ingrowing hairs, can bring further sales to the beard sector.” Charlotte continues.

It seems that spots are males greatest skincare issue. Overall, half (46%) of men feel self conscious if they have a spot on their face, rising to 63% of men aged 16-24. Meanwhile, wrinkles are far less of a concern for British males as just 22% of men worry about their facial lines. Furthermore, while improving the appearance or health of skin is the number one driver in prompting use of facial skincare products (30%), one fifth (21%) of users say they started using male skincare products to treat specific concerns, for example spots or dry skin. Just over one in 10 (12%) users say they first started using these products to prevent the ageing of their skin.

Mintel research reveals that 56% of men do not think they need facial skincare products, while one quarter (26%) say are not that interested in how their skin looks. Around one in seven (14%) say using facial skincare products is not a very masculine thing to do and one in 10 (9%) admit they don’t know the benefits of using facial skincare.

“Male facial skincare ranges could do well to encourage men to take a proactive approach to skincare, instead of reacting to specific problems. Educating men that products, such as the commonly used moisturiser, are more effective when applied to clean, smooth skin, can pique interest in expanding routines with cleansers and facial exfoliators.” Charlotte concludes.

*Includes moisturisers/treatments, cleansers, including scrubs, washes, wipes, masks and specialised products such as lip balms, eye care.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Men’s Facial Skincare UK 2016 report and interviews with Senior Beauty Analyst Charlotte Libby are available on request from the press office.

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