Men's skincare market set to explode in China

The Chinese men's skincare market is forecast by Euromonitor International to grow 29 percent from now through 2014, compared to the paltry growth of 6 percent for North America and 8 percent for Europe.

According to a report released in November by Euromonitor International, men's grooming sales currently comprise just one percent of the total beauty and health care sector in China. Compared to the women's personal care market in China, the men's industry is relatively undeveloped, meaning there is room for new products and innovation. Kevin Zhu, a research analyst at Euromonitor, says that it was the most dynamic sector in all of beauty and personal care in 2009 and that affordable, widely distributed products are expected to grow the most.

Projected to reach $269.6 million this year, the Chinese men's skincare market has attracted the world's biggest cosmetics companies including L'Oréal, Nivea, and Shiseido, who are eager to claim a profitable slice of the pie. Furthermore, China is the only country where Procter & Gamble sells Olay for Men.

"Chinese men are now more concerned with appearances and projecting an image of success," Shaun Rein of China Market Research Group told Bloomberg. "First, they were spending on watches and pens and shoes as a status symbol, then five years ago they were focusing more on apparel, and in the last three years there is a real upsurge in male cosmetics."

Experts attribute the astounding growth to rising disposable income, as well as the increase of glossy fashion magazines such as Chinese editions of Esquire and GQ. "In the last five years, China has seen an explosion of marketing towards men. From glossy Chinese and imported magazines to L'Oreal's use of actor Daniel Wu to represent its men's cosmetics line, urban Chinese men are now surrounded by images of the less-masculine, better-groomed metrosexual male," Jason Inch, co-author of Supertrends of Future China, told the Global Times.

China's best-selling men's skincare products include L'Oreal's Men Expert line - which was the number one brand in the country last year - followed by premium skincare products by Shiseido, Dior, and Clinique.

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