Male cosmetics is a constant topic in the Chinese cosmetic industry. However, the market didn’t witness explosive growth until last year.
In 2020, 3141 companies related to male cosmetics were registered. The financing number in this category also hit a historical high. The attention to this category continued in 2021. Many investors are looking for another Hims in China. Hims, a male care company in America founded in 2017, successfully launched an IPO in New York Stock Market in 2021.
The latest financing data of male cosmetic brands
Latest Financing Time
300 million yuan
Redpoint Ventures, Bilibili, Tiger Global Management, SIG China, 5Y Capital
10 million yuan
GSR Ventures, BA Capital, Jinding Capital
About 15 million yuan
About 10 million yuan
China Creation Ventures, BAI
Gaorong Capital, China Growth Capital, SIG China
200 million yuan
Millions of dollars
Besides money flowing into this category, newly-founded brands also achieved good market performance. For example, Make Essence, a new brand founded in 2019, achieved about a 200-million-yuan GMV in 2020. 1 DearBoyFriend’s monthly sales have reached 10 million yuan recently though it is a new brand founded as lately as 2020. 2
However, not all players got the benefits from this flourishing market. House99 is a typical example. As a star brand promoted by L’Oreal Group and the famous football player Beckham, House99 seems to be born to success. It has support from one of the most experienced cosmetic companies in the world and traffic from one of the world’s famous soccer stars. Still, it failed.
What reasons lie behind these successes and failures? The following analysis may provide answers.
First, male products should be easy to use. “The more convenient, the better” is the main rule that male consumers follow when they buy male cosmetics. Not long ago, soap was what most Chinese men used for daily care. Some of them even believe that using male care products and wearing male makeup will make them less masculine. Therefore, it is hard for them to suddenly understand complicated cosmetic knowledge and accept various skincare and makeup products, such as toner, lotion, cream, cleansing, foundation, lipsticks, etc. “Simple, easy to use” becomes the main demand for male cosmetics. Based on this market observation, new-rising male brands choose to develop the most pragmatic products for their target consumers’ daily use. In the male care sector, shampoo, shower gel, and cleansing are the three top popular products. Clothing deodorant spray also gains traction. As for makeup products, tone-up cream becomes the ace product for its convenience since a tone-up cream has combined the functions of foundation and concealer, saving their time to do research and avoid buying more than one product for each step makeup. On the contrary, House99’s products, including shaping pomade, texturizing clay, toner, moisturizer, etc. seem too much for most Chinese male consumers.
An affordable price is also necessary for most consumers. Young males are the main consumption power for male cosmetics, but they usually can’t afford those high-priced products. According to the data from Tmall, Make Essence’s bestseller, a fragrancy shower gel, is only priced at 79.9 yuan. As a result, it achieved 10,000+ monthly sales units. On the contrary, male shower gel products from big brands, such as Dior and Chanel, only have hundreds of monthly sales units. iiMedia Research’s data also shows that female consumers prefer mid-priced cosmetics ranging from 500 to 1000 yuan, while men’s consumption range is between 200 yuan and 500 yuan which is a low-to-medium price range. Besides, the low-end market below 200 yuan is mainly composed of male consumers. 3
Brands also should have their unique selling points. The homogeneity problem has emerged as many new brands all position themselves as comprehensive male care brands, with product prices around 100 yuan and SKUs involving cleansing, tone-up creams, hair spray, eau de toilette, etc. Some brands have noticed this problem and begin to expand their product line to cover more functions, aiming to stand out from their counterparts. For example, MENXLAB starts to provide diversified and upgraded medical consumer products and comprehensive service solutions targeting male consumers’ health problems, such as hair loss prevention, health care, and skincare. UP, another male care brand, promotes a high-end product line targeting different problems, such as hair loss, insomnia, hangover, gout, etc.
One last thing that brands should notice is that generation Z has become an essential consumption power in this market. Alibaba data shows that one out of every three men who buy foundation is a "post-95". 4 Kaola’s data shows that the growth rate of post-00s male consumers buying makeup in 2020 has exceeded that of post-00s female. 3
In conclusion, the male cosmetic market in China is a rising sun at present. Only less than 5% of the market has been developed, so the future is here.