Nevertheless, the most sought-after service is the traditional hot towel wet shave with a face massage that costs 300 yuan (£32).
“Chinese men are increasingly interested in looking good,” said Zhu Liya, general manager of the barbershop’s Beijing branch. “More are now spending money on personal grooming services”.
Although the metrosexual phenomenon, which implies men spending heavily on grooming products, is stronger in South Korea and Japan, the interest among Chinese men in personal care services has been growing rapidly.
Amid this increase in popularity of beauty products for men, facial skincare is the category that is experiencing the most dynamic growth.
“China is becoming the world’s largest market for men’s skincare products,” said Neil Wang, global partner and president of the consulting firm Frost and Sullivan China.
“The market size is over $1 billion (£700 million) followed by South Korea with total sales value of about $700 million.”
The size of the male facial skincare market in China is projected to reach 11.5 billion yuan by 2020 from 7.3 billion yuan in 2014, the market researcher Mintel Group Ltd said.
“More than 80 per cent of Chinese men believe skincare is important,” Mr Wang said. “They are willing to spend about 25 minutes every day using skincare products on average.”
As more men pay extra attention to their appearance we expect huge growth in the male beauty market
Driving the increasing consumption of male cosmetics is the widespread belief in China that looking good plays an important part in succeeding socially and professionally.
Ding Chen, 30, a businessman who said he spends up to 600 yuan every two months on personal care, particularly on moisturisers, cleansers and cologne, said: “Men spend money on beauty products to improve self-confidence, attract women and improve their self image. After all, good first impressions make a huge difference.”
That kind of thinking is a gilt-edged invitation for foreign brands, which already account for 76.6 per cent of the men’s grooming market in China, to launch beauty products for appearanceconscious consumers. L’Oréal of France launched the Men Expert Hair range in China in September.
Satoshi Hirota, a spokesman for the Japanese cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido, said: “As more men pay extra attention to their appearance we expect huge growth in the male beauty market.”
Sales of Shiseido men’s lotion and emulsion in China rose more than 10 per cent compared with the previous year, he said.
Shiseido, which developed a men’s beauty line exclusively for the Chinese market in 1994, said it expects the men’s skincare market in the country to grow more than 10 per cent this year.
The company is also using the boom in men’s beauty products as an opportunity to increase spending in China.
“We cannot reveal the exact amount but we plan to invest more for expanding points of contact with consumers,” Mr Hirota said.
The German cosmetics company Beiersdorf said it sees huge potential in online sales for its Nivea beauty brand in China because of a change in the younger generation’s shopping habits.
Increasing disposable incomes and the quest for better lifestyles are expected to continue driving the industry in the coming years
Online sales in the men’s grooming market in China account for 40 per cent of total sales, said the market researcher Nielsen Holdings.
Inken Hollmann-Peters, vice-president of corporate communications for Beiersdorf, said: “Unlike five years ago when hypermarket and supermarket channels were still dominant, now more men choose to shop from online or cosmetic stores. We estimate a growth (in the men’s grooming market in China) of around 15 per cent or more from 2015 to 2020 for both online and offline channels.”
Procter Gamble Co of the United States, which makes Gillette razors and Olay Men’s Solutions skincare brand, agreed that most men are moving from offline to online channels to buy grooming products.
Erica Li, a spokeswoman for PG, said: “They even use e-commerce searches as the first step to gain product knowledge.”
Increasing disposable incomes and the quest for better lifestyles are expected to continue driving the industry in the coming years, with men being increasingly adventurous with highend beauty products that go beyond the basics.
Chen Wenwen, a beauty industry analyst with Mintel, said: “There is still huge potential in the men’s grooming market in China as customers move on to pricier categories, particularly eye care, serum or facial cream products with make-up benefits.”
This article was originally produced and published by China Daily.
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