The increasingly sophisticated grooming habits of the Australian man is driving opportunities for niche entrepreneurial start-ups in a market traditionally dominated by larger players.
Men’s grooming is one of the fastest growing categories in the beauty and personal care market and projected to be worth US$43.6 billion globally by 2020, according to Global Industry Analysts. Changing perceptions of masculinity is seeing men add more and more items to their everyday checklist from beard oils to masks, and functional cosmetics.
In Australia the male grooming sector, dominated by Unilever (with 17 per cent in 2016), is estimated to be worth $500 million – just a small part of the total 3.6 billion cosmetics and personal care market (IBIS World). But while perceptions and habits are shifting, the Australian man is still less concerned with his looks and appearance than his global counterparts, with 37 per cent believing it to be important or very important (Datamonitor).
Native Man founders Andrew Antonijevic and Anderson Tong took a simple and pragmatic approach when entering the market in early 2017. With only two skus – a wash and shave, and moisturiser and aftershave – the Native Man range covers 65 per cent of the most commonly purchased male grooming products.
The pair, both registered pharmacists with compounding backgrounds, initially produced their handmade formulations to meet their own needs, but quickly realised the potential for broader appeal.
“Anderson was working in dermatology and compounding creams on a daily basis. I worked more on the industrial side. We weren’t happy with what we were using so we started making our own formulations,” Mr Antonijevic said.
“We did some research and men are a lazier than women, which is why we’ve introduced two multifunctional products.
“Men are starting to become more aware with less stigma so they are feeling freer to take care of themselves. In Japan and Korea this is till much more common but in Australia it is changing.
“More and more men are purchasing personal care products for themselves and when we talk to them they’re really excited there’s something out there for them now.”
According Roy Morgan, almost 38 per cent of Australian men 14+ (3.7 million ) purchased at least one skincare product in any given six months in the year to March 2016, compared to almost 84 per cent of women.