British men call for genderless makeup to remove stigma of purchasing, finds Future Thinking

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It would seem that the UK’s millennial and Gen Z males aren’t as vain they are portrayed in the media, with only 10% of 18-24 year olds using cosmetics, whereas 19% of 25-34 year olds use these products. This runs counter to perceptions of younger men being more ‘metrosexual’ than their older counterparts, and an increasing focus on male beauty in the media.

The study into the grooming habits of over 4,300 British men was carried out by research agency Future Thinking. It comes at a time when stars such as David Beckham are launching their own grooming ranges, and brands are relying heavily on personalities such as James Charles and Manny MUA to attract young men. However, the results suggest male beauty brands may struggle to find a receptive audience unless they target their products in a way that attracts young men looking for role models in all aspects of their lives, not just grooming.

The research indicates a non-gendered approach may offer the best route for engaging with young men: 41% of 18-24 year olds stated they would be more inclined to adopt body/facial care routines if the marketing was gender neutral. Almost a quarter of this market segment (23%) and 27% of 25-34 year olds believe ungendered branding helps to remove the embarrassment and stigma of buying and using beauty products.

Moreover, positive perceptions of gender neutral products extend to pricing, with 28% of 18-24 year olds suggesting non-gendered products are often less expensive than gender-specific ones.

Noreen Kinsey, senior research director at Future Thinking, says: “It seems the industry is too focused on extending the brand opportunity for a fairly small market segment – only one in 10 of 18-24 year old males use cosmetics.  A more lucrative approach might actually be to focus on the (re)branding of a broader set of products.

“The rise of digital as a channel could open more opportunities, not necessarily online alone, but also in adopting emerging interactive technologies such as AR and ‘magic mirrors’ in physical stores to help engage audiences.”