As Father’s Day (June 17) approaches, it seems that many American dads would welcome a way to hold onto their youth as new research from Mintel reveals that one third (34%) of American dads* who use personal care products say they care about preventing the signs of aging, compared to one quarter (26%) of male personal care product users overall.
And it seems with more children comes a greater desire to hold onto their youth. While one third (32%) of dads with just one child say they care about aging, this rises to nearly two in five (38%) dads with two children. By contrast, less than one quarter (23%) of men without kids feel the same way.
However, while there is a definite consumer interest in staying young, only 4% of men’s personal care products launched in the US in 2017 included anti-aging claims**, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).
“With the joys of fatherhood come sleep deprivation and additional stress, all of which can take their toll. Our research reveals an increased interest from the nation’s dads in combating the visible signs of aging. But the discrepancy between the amount of men interested in preventing the signs of aging and the number of products touting these benefits indicates a significant opportunity for anti-aging personal care products specifically formulated for and marketed to men. Those looking for a last-minute Father’s Day gift may want to consider products that can help combat the signs of aging such as moisturizers, sunscreens or even face masks,” said Marissa Gilbert, Associate Director, Health and Wellness, at Mintel.
Laid back over polished is the desired look
Today, looking ‘healthy’ (52%) is the number one look that American men overall are seeking to portray. Beyond that, men are interested in looks that are easy to maintain: men are twice as likely to say they are interested in portraying a laid-back look (40%) as they are to say they’re interested in looking polished (19%). Additionally, more than one quarter (27%) are interested in an effortless look. Sporting more unique and harder-to-maintain looks such as rugged (14%) or edgy (10%) are lower on the list.
In addition to their desire to look young, dads also want to look put-together. In fact, American dads are more likely than men overall to be interested in portraying looks that are stylish (51% dads vs 33% overall), handsome (47% vs 43%) and cool (42% vs 32%).
In keeping with the low-maintenance lifestyle, men who use personal care products tend to play it safe when it comes to product ingredients, opting for more well known ingredients such as vitamins (52%) and aloe vera (50%), rather than newer or trendy ingredients like charcoal (10%), clay (7%) and arginine (6%). All in all, it seems natural ingredients are grabbing men’s attention as they shop, given that ‘natural’ (47%) is the top attribute men who use personal care products look for on-pack when making a purchase.
“As highlighted in Mintel Trend ‘An Informal Affair,’ society has become less prim and proper, and this ‘casualization of America’ is seeing men less worried about looking polished compared to previous generations. Men today prefer to portray a look that is laid-back, hinting at a desire to appear approachable and easygoing, as well as being low-maintenance. Furthermore, men’s interest in familiar ingredients indicates that products using lesser-known ingredients may be met more positively when they are launched under established, trusted brands to help drive awareness and ultimately familiarize men with new ingredients and new, innovative products,” continued Gilbert.
Men spent $4.5 billion to look ‘effortless’ in 2017
Last year, men spent $4.5 billion on personal care products, up 1.1% over the prior year. While usage is high, there has been a slowdown in sales growth. Despite the fact that deodorant, which enjoys 95% usage, is the fastest growing segment of the category (2.9% increase over 2016), reaching an estimated $1.7 billion in 2017, this is the slowest rate of growth the segment has seen since 2012. Meanwhile, 84% of men use shaving products, but the continued popularity of facial hair trends has resulted in a sales decline, falling 2.6% to hit $1.1 billion in 2017.
Finally, in line with their interest in keeping a younger-looking appearance, 70% of men say they use sunscreen/sun protection and two thirds (64%) say they use facial skincare.
“The popularity of a more laid-back appearance, as well as slowed sales growth for deodorant and shaving products, the two largest segments of the category, drove tepid 2017 performance that is slightly below growth seen over the last four years. Despite new brands and innovative products, such as niche facial hair balms and oils, entering the market, men appear to rely more on physical health and wellness rather than personal care products to achieve a healthy look. And as men are interested in preventing the signs of aging, there is an opportunity to further encourage the use of sunscreens and facial skincare products by promoting the anti-aging benefits of products with sun protection. Looking ahead, Mintel forecasts slow and steady category sales growth as men aged 35-44, and specifically dads, help to propel the market forward as they are more invested in the category and less price sensitive than other groups,” concluded Gilbert.