Even as the market continues to grow, stickiness still remains a challenge for brands
Male grooming is here to stay and it has been proven in the last year through with large FMCG firms acquiring catching up start-ups. For instance, British multinational consumer goods major Reckitt Benckiser led a Rs 45 crore funding round in Bombay Shaving Company earlier this year, while Marico acquired men’s grooming startup Beardo in 2020. In June, Emami Ltd too hiked its stake in male grooming startup The Man Company to 45.96% from 33.09% stake held earlier. “While offline stores were impacted, our online business grew by more than 200% in FY21 compared to FY20,” Bhisham Bhateja, co-founder, The Man Company, told BrandWagon Online. The company claims that its net revenue grew by 10-12% in FY21 over FY20.
According to Research and Markets, the Indian male grooming market stood at $643 million in 2018 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of over 11% to cross $1.2 billion by 2024. Much of this growth is expected to be driven by online channels as Covid-19 has put e-commerce at the forefront of retail. “In May 2021, total visitors on our website were up by 400% compared with May 2020. During the lockdown, more men started searching online for new products and watching instructional videos on how to groom their beards or how to get a salon-like shave at home. Demand for razors and trimmers is up by 50% compared to last year,” Sidharth S Oberoi, founder and CEO, LetsShave, stated, adding that post-pandemic, the D2C market is not restricted to the tier 1 and metropolitan cities anymore and has gone much beyond these locations. As more and more people are getting access to technology and the internet, people are becoming aware of the benefits of online shopping options and are willing to give it a try and experience something new. As for brands, a clutch of initiatives such as the launch of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) grooming kits, anti-bacterial skin care range, to ‘How to use’ instructions and ‘grooming tips’ on platforms such as Instagram and their own websites have helped in connecting with consumers amidst lockdown.
Even as the market continues to grow, stickiness still remains a challenge for brands. As per Viren Razdan, managing director, Brandnomics, while the variety and innovation are evident, the challenge is to sustain it and therefore brands have to emerge as strong relationship brands. “This requires community building, regular conversations, and incentivising consumers and not just being restricted to cross promotions,” he added further. As most of these brands have an online presence, they are presented with the opportunity to have a narrow conversation since they know their consumers well — in terms of what they have bought, the products that have not been repurchased, lapsed customers, among others.
Interestingly, the idea of personalised content marketing seems to have found its way into the marketing efforts of brands. For instance, for Bombay Shaving Company, online will account for 70-75% of the ad spends, and 25-30% will be spent offline. “Earlier, we spent 70% of our advertising budgets on performance marketing and 30% on brand marketing. For FY22, 40% would be spent on performance and remaining on brand marketing. We want to put our investments into content generation and community building as long term equity building will be done through brand investments and not performance investments alone,” Shantanu Deshpande, founder and CEO, Bombay Shaving Company, stated. The company also plans to spend money on discovery with sponsored videos, branded content, as well as influencer led videos.
Industry stakeholders believe that in the long run, both online, as well as brick-and-mortar stores, will be key to growth. Hence, brands plan to expand their offline presence simultaneously. The Man Company, for instance, which had a presence across modern trade outlets such as Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, and Central pre-pandemic, entered the hypermarket business model by collaborating with Spar, Reliance stores, Big Bazaar, as well as regional supermarkets such as Vijetha in the Southern market, among others. As for Wipro-backed D2C brand LetsShave, which has a presence across its website, as well as e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Myntra, Grofers, it also plans to open brick and mortar stores across India in the coming years. “One of the most critical things for a brand is to be present everywhere the customers are present,” Oberoi noted.