Product Innovation Reshaping Nigeria’s Male Grooming Market

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Though many segments of the cosmetics industry are slowing down, the area of men’s grooming has continued its upward swing. Product categories like electric shavers, trimmers and home hair clippers have emerged some of the largest growth drivers in the personal care industry, boasting an overall sales growth of 12 per cent up from nine per cent in the last 12 months, according to renowned market researcher, Cosmetics Design.

Increasingly, the male grooming business in Africa is booming. Just the clipper segment of the market alone is currently valued at about €200 million with Nigeria accounting for a major share of it, selling 3.5 million units.

The growth trend is attributable to a wider range of consumers opening up to and becoming comfortable with the idea of male grooming and total personal hygiene. Other growth triggers in the segment have been identified as increase in technologically advanced products, innovative packaging and increased tempo of clever marketing strategies exclusively targeting male consumers.

Major global brands like L’Oreal, P&G, Unilever and Philips have continued to dig deep in the male grooming market through innovation and tactical marketing strategies.

To underscore the increasing significance of innovation in the segment, Philips recently introduced to the Nigerian market, the first range of clippers designed to ensure no bumps and less rash. The two clippers in the range, the Philips Clipper Pro (ideal for professional barber styling) and Philips Clipper Home (for personal use) offer blades designed to avoid cuts and bumps for optimal skin comfort, close precision and durability. The Philips Pro Clipper which is designed for a powerful expert trim, cut or shave has a chrome matt finish that is complemented by a smart textured handle for a comfortable grip, and a 2.8m cord to give a greater reach and to easily move around while clipping. Additionally, it comes with seven Click-on Combs as well as a styling comb and scissors.

The Philips Home Clipper has lacquering, textured high gloss plastic finish and a 2.4m cord; and comes with four Click-On Combs including the 3mm, 6mm, 9mm or 12mm combs. The new Philips range of clippers came with a promise of innovative solution and was well received into a market where the concerns, when it comes to grooming, remain very clear. Razor bumps on the face and head, remain one of the biggest concerns among the African male populace. The majority of men develop bumps on their skin after a very close shave (e.g. using a blade) on their face. When getting a haircut, most men cringe at the thought of getting cuts and scratching discomfort to be a necessary evil in order to get a sharp, fresh look with nicely trimmed edges. More and more men worry about hygiene when sharing a hair clipper tool with other people at the barbing saloon. It appears all these concerns have been taken care of by the new Philips clippers.

“Philips conducted extensive research across a cross-section of men in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa; the Philips clipper was developed and extensively field tested taking into account the core concerns that came out in the research – mainly the need to get that clean shaven feeling but to avoid the scratches, cuts and bumps that sometimes develop on the skin.

“The new Philips Clippers’ robust design promises to become a hair-loom for generations to come. Its strong steel blades are manufactured to withstand chips and cracks lasting up to four times longer than the leading brand, while its state-of-the-art copper motor coil will outrun its predecessor four times over. These are the first clippers Philips is introducing in the African market, underscoring our commitment to delivering innovation based on the need of the consumers. Our new clippers cut your hair, not your skin. This not only ensures that you have a painless short and sharp look, but also improves your overall skin health”, stated Chioma Iwuchukwu-Nweke, General Manager, Philips Personal Health – West Africa.

 Investigations show that prior to the introduction of its new range of clippers into the market, Philips, in 2014, conducted an in-depth qualitative study consisting of 20 barber interviews, 20 consumer focus groups with eight participants per group and 40 in-home interviews in SA, Nigeria and Ghana, as part of research leading to the product design.

For brands like Philips and others willing to take big chunks of the market by focusing on innovative product birthing and aggressive marketing, the future outlook is indeed bright. According to a report by Alliance Market Research (AMR) titled ‘Men’s Personal Care Market: Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast: 2014-2022’, the market is expected to grow astronomically beginning from 2016. While the global male personal care market is expected to stand at $166 billion by 2022, growing at a Cumulative Average Growth Rate of 5.4% from 2016 to 2022, the African market is expected to be $13.2 billion in 2017 and stand at one-quarter of the global market figure by 2022. A large chunk of the African figure is predictably expected from Nigeria.

AMR predicts the growth driver segments in the male grooming market to be Personal Care, Hair Care, Skin Care and Make Up while increased Health and Fitness Awareness as well as need to retain youthful appearance continue to motivate consumer behaviour.