Some of you may have heard of the 'metrosexual' male. Apparently, that's old hat now. The latest male stereotype is the 'retrosexual'. This, according to L'Oréal, is a man who is reclaiming his masculinity based on old-fashioned male values and who uses personal grooming as a sign of pride and confidence.

L'Oréal surveyed 1,013 men who were nationally representative in terms of age, social class and region to discover their attitudes to grooming.

When asked what was the one product they could not live without, 82% of respondents said shampoo. So far, so good. However, the next 'must have' item was fake tan with 67% of those surveyed saying they couldn't live without it. Deodorant didn't even feature on the list so you have to wonder just how 'representative' those men really were.

But if you thought that every man uses deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste you'd be wrong. According to TGI/BMRB data used in Keynote's 2009 toiletries report, in 2008 nearly 95% of men used toothpaste, 92% used shampoo and just 89% used deodorant.

The toiletries brands that these men favoured were Colgate, Gillette, Nivea, Imperial Leather and Head & Shoulders.

Unilever UK senior male toiletries category manager Louise Brunt says men are very brand loyal so the key for manufacturers is pulling them into the fixture and keeping them there. "This is a challenge and therefore range, clarity and availability are crucial," she says.

And according to Unilever's Partners for Growth programme, men are more comfortable if their products are separated from women's. It's an interesting point when you consider that, on a lot of occasions, it's the women who are buying the products for the men in their lives, whether that's their partner, husband or son.

Brunt continues: "Although consumer research shows that men don't shop for toiletries as frequently as women, when they do their average weight of purchase is significantly higher. In particular, the male shower category has seen some exciting developments in the past year and is currently worth almost £80m, which is a 9.8% growth since last year (IRI data to April 17, 2010). This is primarily driven by an increase in penetration as men increasingly use their own shower product, rather than just whatever is in the shower."

Moving onto brands, and Lynx is the number one male toiletries brand in the UK, with a value sales figure of more than £156m (IRI data to April 17, 2010).

Brand owner Unilever puts its success down to its constant innovation, evolution and quirky tongue-in-cheek advertising campaigns.

Innovation has taken the form of the portable, pocket-size format Lynx Bullet launched last year, as well as the Lynx Colours range of body sprays and shower gels, which Unilever says are driving cross-purchasing and usage.

Men only

SureMen is the number one male anti-perspirant range (IRI 52 week value sales data to November 28, 2009). A new variant has just been added to the line-up. Aimed at active men, new Sport Defence comes in a distinctive gold canister. The launch is supported by a promotion which ties into the World Cup.

SureMen brand manager David Sandall explains: "The World Cup is a key event for the SureMen target consumer. The on-pack promotion, which offers consumers the chance to enter a sweepstake and win cash prizes, will encourage shoppers to engage with both the tournament and the brand. Similar link-ups with the brand and sporting events in the past have proven to be extremely popular with consumers and we expect this campaign to be even more successful."

SureMen Sport Defence is available in 250ml and 150ml anti-perspirant aerosols and a 50ml roll on. All 250ml cans carry a promotional sticker containing a unique code. Consumers have to log on to where they will be given a country to support during the tournament. As their team progresses they will win a cash prize, which increases at each stage. A quarter-final place wins £5; semi-final £10; final £25; and overall winner £50.

In all, Unilever is supporting the launch of Sport Defence with a £3m spend which also includes outdoor, digital and press activity, as well as a dedicated TV advertising campaign.

Meanwhile, one of the most interesting developments in the male grooming category this year has been the entry of women's brand Dove. New Dove Men+Care is a shower and deodorant range specifically designed for men aged 40 and upwards.

Unilever UK brand manager Paul Connell explains: "Up until now men have been forced to accept discomfort and irritation as a necessary compromise for performance. Dove Men+Care is a grooming range for men that is clinically proven to provide both skin comfort and top efficacy."

He reckons the launch has filled a huge gap in the market as there are no toiletry brands specifically catering for more mature men.

"For many men, purchasing personal care products continues to be a chore and many can still be found using unisex or female products, which is partly driven by a belief that there is nothing better available specifically for them. There is a real category opportunity to address this and therefore grow the grooming repertoire of men over 40 in the UK."

The 12-strong range includes a body and face wash that fights dryness, and an anti-perspirant deodorant that offers 24-hour protection and skin caring action.

Meanwhile, Brunt reckons there is a need to educate male shoppers about the difference between products, for example anti-perspirants and body sprays.

"Together with the shower category, the deodorants category is one of the biggest drivers of male toiletries. If manufacturers can convey clearly the benefits of using a body spray in addition to an anti-perspirant they can continue to drive value and sales in both categories."

Another big category in male grooming is, of course, shaving products. Procter & Gamble trade communications manager Paul Lettice says: "Consumers have a varied list of priorities when it comes to male grooming products. The latest technology such as Gillette Fusion will always produce strong sales due to heightened consumer awareness through advertising, PR, product sampling and online activity.

"Gillette disposables are also important, particularly to the convenience market due to distress purchases. Consumers are also now trading up from Mach 3 to Fusion, making Fusion the number one razor in the UK."

According to IRI convenience data for November 2008 versus November 2009, distribution for Fusion and Gillette disposables is the highest in the category.

But razors can be pricey and Lettice admits that the recession has affected purchasing habits: "Men are tending to keep their blades for longer. To ensure Gillette is affordable to consumers, we're offering bigger value packs.

"We are currently running an advertising campaign for Gillette that explains to consumers how cost effective it is to purchase Fusion blades. The campaign shows that it costs 75p a week to use Fusion blades, providing them with confidence that the product is affordable (based on average Fusion blade consumption TNS 2008 and average Fusion price IRI, October 21, 2009)."

For the uninitiated, Gillette Fusion and Fusion Power are "revolutionary" wet shaving systems. Both razors feature five-blade technology on the front of the cartridge with blades spaced closer together to create a shaving surface that helps to reduce shaving force for better comfort. On the reverse, the precision trimmer blade is a single blade perfect for tricky places such as sideburns and under the nose.

Gillette Fusion Power combines Gillette's most advanced cartridge technology with its best-ever handle technology and a battery-powered shaving system which emits gentle micro-pulses for a better shave. The razor includes a micro-chip which brings electronics to wet shaving for the first time. The chip regulates voltage and frequency, improving the system's performance as well as sensing when the battery falls below optimum efficiency levels. The shaving surface on Fusion Power incorporates PowerGlide blades that reduce the cutting force for improved glide and comfort.

Lettice says that consumer testing results showed that Fusion and Fusion Power outperformed the previous leading razors, Mach3Turbo and M3Power two to one, and was preferred on every one of the 69 attributes that were tested.

He adds: "As consumers seek to embrace the newest developments, retailers should ensure that their male grooming fixture includes the most up-to-date range from Gillette."

The brand does not just encompass razors; it also offers consumers an extensive shave care range. Four new products were recently added to the line-up: a pre-shave scrub, two after shave balms and a moisturiser. Retail prices start at £6.99.

Says Lettice: "Adding these four new SKUs to the range gives retailers the chance to make the most of the trust in the Gillette brand name. Some 72% of all spend on Gillette skincare comes from new users to the category, so with the backing of a strong advertising campaign, the range will be high on the shopping list for consumers, and retailers should ensure they are well stocked."

Finally, for the more price-conscious man there is the £1 range from Supermax. This includes a system razor which was voted 'best choice economy razor' by The Sun last year.

Jo Thiselton-Dyer, retail account manager for Super-Max, describes rate of sale for the £1 range as "fantastic". She reckons consumers view c-stores as expensive for shaving products, therefore they only use them for distress purchases. "Theft is also a problem for these higher-priced lines, which means they are kept behind the counter and are usually not noticed. Our £1 products can be put on shelf where customers can see them and notice the excellent value."

Super-Max is backed by a programme of support this summer including advertising during the Rugby Superleague, County Twenty20 cricket, major sponsorship at the London Sporting Village in July, sponsorship of the ITV official World Cup TV guide and a partnership with crime series CSI's DVD releases.
male grooming habits
41.5% of UK men shave every day On average, men wash their hair four times a week; 41% wash it every day Only 42% of men use a shampoo that's specifically designed for them 17% of men have, or are currently using, home hair colorants The greatest age-related fear for UK men is developing a beer belly The greatest fear among 25- to 29-year-old men is loss or thinning of hair Source: L'Oréal UK men's grooming report 2010
ones to watch...
Cutting edge Wilkinson Sword has unified it's range with a new look as part of a strategy to build a stronger Wilkinson Sword umbrella brand. The redesign, featuring a new logo, packaging and product upgrades across Quattro, has been backed by a £4m media campaign. tel: 01494 533300 Sure-fire winner SureMen has introduced a money-back guarantee to reassure consumers about the efficacy of its Maximum Protection product. The price promise is being backed by a £1.5m media support package including a TV ad. rrp: £4.99 tel: 01372 945000 Fresh and fruity Number one male toiletries brand Lynx 2010 has new variants: twist and rise. Twist is described as a fragrance that changes from a fresh scent to a woodier smell. Meanwhile, rise contains Himalayan minerals and lime extracts. rrp: £3.10 tel: 0800 591 720 Flying the flag Gillette is supporting England's efforts in the World Cup with a new Fusion razor featuring the England flag. Also available is a supporters' pack comprising four Fusion manual blades, a flag and cheering horn. rrp: razor £6.99; supporters' pack £8.99 tel: 0800 597 3388 Once and only Lamisil Once, the single-dose treatment for athlete's foot, has moved to General Sales Licence and so can now be sold in c-stores. A clinical study found that one application cleared athlete's foot in nearly 70% of patients. rrp: £9.78 tel: 01403 218111
retailer’s view
"We stock a limited range of men's toiletries Lynx body sprays, Sure deodorants, shower gel, shaving foam, hair gel and Brylcreem. "We are on a parade of shops and there is a chemist here so we stock just a limited range for when the chemist is closed. "All razors are kept behind the counter because of the risk of theft, but are very visible so customers can see we sell them. The category is not a big one; it just adds to our overall product mix. "Lynx is the best seller because it's such a recognised brand. Spar does some good promotions and they always sell well. Currently, we have an offer on Sure two for £2, which is excellent." Paul Phillips, Spar, Cambridge