Men’s attention to and acceptance of beauty care is growing rapidly in China. What do they want?
In China, especially in smaller cities, the beauty market still predominantly target females. Compared with women’s beauty services, the equivalent services for men are still in the early stages of development. But due to the increasing openness and diversification of mainland society, access by men to beauty care has begun to be accepted by consumers who have a more open and fashionable mindset. The development potential of the men’s beauty market cannot be ignored.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council held a consumer symposium on the mainland and found that the consumer habits of men going to beauty salons are close to those of women, but they have some unique characteristics: in the era of “appearance”, men focuses greatly on their looks; men’s acceptance of medical beauty has increased; men pay more attention to the professionalism of beauty salons than women; and men spend about the same amount of money on basic beauty care as women do.
Men also care about their appearance
The social media in mainland China has developed rapidly, and both men and women are keen on sharing their daily lives via social media. As more and more people now have easy access to high-end brands, consumers are paying increasing attention to their appearance and men’s focus on it is the same way as women do. Male respondents who attended the symposium tend to link appearance to opportunity: “Good appearance enables one to be more popular and have more opportunities in both leisure life and work field.”
Men’s growing emphasis on appearance has prompted a change in their spending mentality on beauty care. In the past, men put more emphasis on the functionality of products, addressing specific issues such as acne, oil, spots, black heads and so on. But the symposium found that the purpose for beauty care for men has now been upgraded from simple problem-solving to maintaining an overall good appearance.
Meanwhile, women are more open to men’s increasing interest in beauty care. Almost all the female interviewees who participated in the symposium said that they fully accepted men going to beauty salons for beauty care, and did not mind at all if the beauty salon they visited also served men. However, since the therapists are still predominantly women, they may not take the initiative to encourage their boyfriends or husbands to go to the beauty salons.
From skin maintenance to medical beauty
Men’s openness on beauty care is not limited to traditional beauty services. The symposium found that men were also beginning to receive some non-traditional beauty services, including medical beauty treatments and mini-plastic surgery. The male interviewees who participated in the symposium believed that medical beauty caused a significant improvement in skin conditions. They said that ordinary treatments with beauty equipment were only for maintenance, and in order to improve the quality of the skin, one must seek some medical beauty means.
However, despite the increase in men’s acceptance of micro-plastic surgery, there is still a clear difference between men’s and women’s attitudes towards micro-plastic surgery. Women usually regard it as a means to improve beauty, while men emphasize more on the individuality it creates. Compared with women, men do not want to see their appearance being significantly changed, and they are more likely to choose micro-plastic programs which help to enhance their personal characteristics, such as sideburn implants and eyebrow implants.
Men place more emphasis on professionalism
Although there were significant changes in the consumption attitudes and habits for beauty products and services of the interviewees at the symposium in 2018 compared to five years ago, female consumers still regard beauty salons as a place to relax and unwind. Therefore, such issues as whether there is a cordial receptionist and whether they can get along well with the therapists greatly affect their choices.
Comparatively, men will not have so many emotional considerations. They focus more on the professionalism of the beauty salon including attentive service attitude and the choice of high-quality skin care products, as well as a quiet and comfortable environment. High-grade beauty salons are more likely to attract male consumers.
Men share similar habits as women on visiting beauty salons
Men and women have different attitudes towards beauty care, yet they share some common points regarding their frequency of visiting beauty salons.
The male interviewees who participated in the symposium said they went to the beauty salon two to four times a month, which is about the same as most women, reflecting the fact that a man’s frequency of visits may be affected by advice from a woman or a beauty salon.
When choosing a beauty salon, both male and female interviewees regard location as a key factor, and are particularly inclined to choose a beauty salon near their homes.
The difference is that women will also choose beauty salons near the company, while men are less likely to do so.
As for member cards, the average number of women possessing them is still more than men. At the symposium, half of the male respondents had one member card, and very few had four.
Men spend about the same on basic beauty care as women
Since many beauty salons charge men and women the same amounts, most men spend about the same amount on basic beauty care as women. The average consumption of male respondents in the symposium was 12,000 to 20,000 yuan per year on basic beauty treatments at beauty salons.
In addition to going to beauty salons, men also buy daily skin care products, particularly for oil removal and moisturizing. Expenditure amounts to 3,000 to 7,000 yuan a year. Like women, men spend much more at beauty salons than on skincare products.