Donning the war paint | The Financial Express

Donning the war paint

Technology, safety and men’s grooming have upended the market

Donning the war paint
Lakme Salon has set aside 3-5% of its revenue to make sure the environment at the outlet is safe for customers.

So you think the bangs look out of place or the hair colour’s too light? You are probably in the wrong salon. Thanks to technology, such regrets may soon be a thing of the past. Grooming salons in big cities are using virtual reality and imaging solutions to stay a cut above. That apart, they are amping up safety protocols and wooing men with gusto.

The size of the salon market in India is close to Rs 60,000 crore and is expected to touch Rs 189,000 crore by FY25. Unorganised and local regional operators enjoy 75% of the market. With the entry of international players, the share of organised players is expected to climb to around 30% over the next couple of years, says Pakhi Saxena, practice head, retail CPG, Wazir Advisors. As footfalls limp back to pre-Covid levels, this is the perfect time for players to gear up for the opportunity ahead, she adds.

Consumers want unique products and experiences and they will pay for them, say experts. Personalisation and customisation will be the name of the game, adds Pushakaraj Shenai, CEO and wholetime director, Lakmé Lever. The company leverages all the digital resources at its disposal to get close to customers.  “Using technology to enhance customer experience is a key focus area. It helps optimise costs, which in turn, helps our franchise partners attract and retain clients,” he adds. It has recently introduced virtual skin, hair, and bridal consultations, apart from offering a unique AI-powered face mapping tool for detailed skin analysis and providing customised solutions. It has over 450 salons across the country including in tier-II and III cities, and is working at adding two new salons a week.

Lakme Salon has set aside 3-5% of its revenue to make sure the environment at the outlet is safe for customers. It has implemented over 55 safety measures in collaboration with medical professionals across every touch point in a salon. For its part, Enrich Salon has added new ‘safety supplements’, albeit at a price. Vikram Bhatt, founder, Enrich, says, “We have tried to reduce the additional cost by procuring these elements at better prices; we also waive these if the customer logs a high invoice value.”

Some service providers are adding news services to their menu. JCO Salon, for instance, has started offering acupressure therapy to woo new customers. Enrich is also widening its offerings. Bhatt adds, “We have extended our portfolio to include make-up, fragrances, bath and body products, and accessories.” Its revenue has already surpassed pre-Covid numbers, though footfalls are yet to reach those levels.

According to an IMARC Group report, the Indian male grooming products market is expected to grow at 7.93% during 2022-27. Shailesh More, CEO, JCO Salon, says beauty and grooming for men are still not openly accepted in tier-II and III cities. To induce trials among male clients, it has started giving free demo services. Lakme Salon is also expanding its men’s portfolio. To get a stronger foothold in the men’s grooming space, it has partnered with Bombay Shaving Company to create experience centres at over 200 Lakme Salons, with a new menu of beard and grooming services.

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First published on: 05-12-2022 at 09:01 IST