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Male grooming market gets slicker

Nina Varghese

CHENNAI, Aug. 8

THAT the young Indian males in the age group of 15-34 are grooming better is evident from the burgeoning male grooming market, which is estimated to be around Rs 300 crore and is growing at a rate of 15 per cent annually.

SARA Lee TTK Ltd launched its range of men's grooming products under the Brylcreem brand two months ago in the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka markets. Mr V.S. Pradeep Kumar, CEO, said Brylcreem shaving gel has done well in these two months as it has gained 9 per cent market share in Tamil Nadu and 6.8 per cent in Karnataka.

The products are targeted mainly at SEC A and B customers, he said. Since the customers are mainly college students, the company found that it had to make a 40-year-old brand, young and appealing to its target audience.

The brand communication is emotional and targeted at this age group. The brand sponsors youth festivals, college events and has been associated with Channel V. Recently, Brylcreem was the co-sponsor for a Tamil film event in Malaysia, Mr Pradeep Kumar said.

Primarily, the brand communication is aimed at getting customers to try out the product, said Mr Pradeep Kumar. Shaving gel, as a category, is gaining precedence over creams. The earlier perception that gels were more expensive is changing as customers are moving towards ease of use. He said, Brylcreem's shaving gel also has antiseptic properties that prevent razor burns, which has been a selling point for the product. For Sara Lee, shaving gel forms a large chunk of this market not just in India but also in other markets in the Indian sub-continent, Mr Pradeep Kumar said. He said that it was different in South East Asian countries. For instance, in Indonesia, the company is focussing on colognes.

Besides in landscape, print, TV, the product's media communication is also present on the Web, especially for customer feedback and brand information.

Propelled by the growth of shaving gel, the other products such as aftershave, deo sprays and talc have grown, he said. In the talc market, which is basically an entry-level grooming product for men, the major share belongs to the unisex family packs. Mr Pradeep Kumar said though a part of the market was moving away from the family packs to more individual packs, the resistance to change was still high in this segment.

Another Brylcreem product, which has gained in market share, from 65 per cent to 72 per cent, in the past two months, is the hair styling gel - Strong Hold. This product is popular in Europe, Mr Pradeep Kumar said. He said a survey done by Sara Lee in the UK among young males in the age group of 15 to 20, revealed that hair styling was the most important part of their grooming.

The rationale behind this fetish for hairstyling lies in the fact that dressing is more or less standardised these days. So when one cannot express oneself through his personal attire, the single most important feature that can make a difference is the hairstyle, Mr Pradeep Kumar said.

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