Are Beard Oils the New Aftershave?
As a kid, I used to watch my dad shave his face. I especially loved it when he would clap his face with aftershave, look into the mirror and say, “Damn, I’m handsome,” signaling the completion of his manly ablutions. I once watched my husband shave his face, but his ritual lacked the panache that my dad’s did. The childish merriment was gone. I later realized he didn’t do the triumphant slap of aftershave. Actually, he didn’t use aftershave at all!
Sadly, aftershave within prestige has experienced declining sales for the past few years. The last 12 months saw dollar and unit sales down -11 percent and -8 percent, respectively.* One thing that could be affecting the sales of aftershave is the rise of men sporting facial hair. It has been reported that more than half of American men ages 18-34 have a beard or stubble, and thereby not needing aftershave.** NPD’s fragrance consumer survey, Scentiments, shows that almost three in 10 men have cited that they have used more fragrance in the past year because they have a new grooming routine. The key would be getting whiskered men to incorporate something fragranced into their grooming routines.
I’ve been noticing a few brands introducing beard-related items into their lines, like beard oils and softeners. The number of introductions in the market has quadrupled since 2014. While still small in dollar sales, (less than 1 percent of the men’s prestige market), these products have increased sales by 10 percent.* Furthermore, 54 percent of men ages 18-34 want a scent that others might be able to smell on them or be barely noticeable.*** In other words, they prefer a fragrance that can only be experienced while standing within their personal space. Scented beard oils and softeners fit the bill as they are more subtle in strength.
Fragrance can certainly become more innovative by introducing new formats that will nicely dovetail with the lifestyle changes of its consumers. Changing with consumer habits is the only way we as an industry will stay current and relevant.
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, 12 months ending June 2017
***Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Scentiments: Scented Mind 2016