Thursday 22, Oct 2020, Delhi (India)
From simply cleaning teeth to brotoxing today, the definition of grooming has completely transformed over the past years. Since the Stone Age times, human civilization has been beautifying their bodies and adopting various ways for grooming and haircare. In the current scenario, people’s increasing concern for their looks and glowing skin has unleashed the potential of the grooming industry. By 2018 the global men’s grooming products market size alone was valued at USD 55.0 billion, the question is how did the men’s grooming industry expand to that extent? But the current crisis is a catalyst that has shocked the industry into change, no industry will get through the pandemic alone, and here arises the struggle. The question in this matter is, will the coronavirus pandemic change the dynamics for the grooming industry forever?
Humans have evolved significantly with regards to grooming habits, from the prehistoric skinny beards to today’s modern aptly styled tresses.
During the Stone Age, men did not pay much attention to shaving and haircare but the archaeological evidence states that they utilized ground-up, red-coloured rock as make-up. The purpose of applying it is still doubtful as it is not clear whether they desired to look attractive with glowing skin in their own eyes or to intimidate enemies. A little later, when the heavy beard caused itchiness, men utilized sharp rocks to shave off the long hair and trim the beard. From the past, society has dominated women’s choices over their appearance, by ordering them how to dress and be ‘ladylike’. One such major example of this dominance was expecting a woman to get rid of all her visible body hair to maintain the societal perception of an ideal image. They used flint blades, seashells, and other sharp objects to shave off all body hair. Around 3000 BC, the Egyptian women came up with the first shaving cream for the eras by mixing arsenic, quicklime, and starch. As the Egyptians believed in the concept of life after death, archaeologists even found stones curved into rotary blades in the tombs. It wasn't until the late 18th century that grooming became a routine.
Till a few years ago, grooming was limited to shaving and hair trimming. But with time people started looking for the best ways to take care of themselves and it further led to the expansion of the grooming market. Be it, men or women, consumers not only aimed to look good but also to feel good and confident. With growing awareness among consumers, grooming became nothing less but a routine. The brands offered thousands of products in the market, as against a handful of products available a few years ago.
“Grooming is blooming”
Grooming is a way of life, one should go about grooming themselves for their satisfaction. It builds up one's self-esteem and confidence. Grooming not only makes a positive impression of you in front of others but, also gives you a positive vibe. It doesn't mean that you have to always look like a celebrity instead it makes you presentable enough to stand out from the rest. Some of the reasons to take grooming seriously are:
"Long gone are the days when the only grooming product a man possessed was a razor."
With men becoming image-conscious, the male grooming category is breaking all the stereotypes and anticipating expansion. After years of fits and starts, it's finally gaining traction. Unlike before the men's products are not only limited to a razor, shaving cream, and a shaving brush. Earlier Indian men applied whatever products were lying around the dressing, like cream, talc, and coconut hair oil. Today the degree of involvement of men in their grooming routines compared to 15 years ago, is dramatically different.
The rise of the metrosexual men has further raised the market of men's grooming. Breaking all the stereotypes, it has allowed men to involve in the whole world of previously forbidden grooming routines, like moisturizing, shaving chest, backs, and eyebrows. This revolution brought men's products in the grooming market and they stopped pinching products from the women in their lives.
From the late 18th century razors became more than sharp, exposed slabs of metal. There were professional men for grooming and people started visiting barbers. Technological innovations have played a huge part in the grooming sector, it further gave the industry equipment like salon hair dryer, hair straighteners, portable blow dryer etc.
Innovative start-ups are further ruling the market, offering a comprehensive variety of products at pocket-friendly prices, making it accessible for consumers. Almost all the brands in the grooming sector are digital-first brands, in the country, online market places like Amazon and Flipkart have made it easy for the brands to launch their products, and for the consumers to access them.
This sudden necessity to feel good along with glowing skin has fueled their curiosity to try out the latest products in the market, which in turn has led to explosive growth in the grooming category. Brands have identified that with the growing awareness among consumers, they look out to opt for clean and green products, and hence the grooming industry looks forward to offering sustainable and environmentally friendly products. As grooming turned out to be a successful industry, people further came up with the idea of grooming schools and courses.
The expansion of the grooming industry in India raised the demand for more professionals in the field of grooming. Different international salon chains debuted the Indian market as the consumers wished for professional services. Several colleges offered different courses in this particular field. Some of them are-
To stop the spread of deadly coronavirus, the Indian government ordered the closure of all hair salons and beauty parlours with immediate effect. The decision was taken as a precautionary measure to stop the spread. The coronavirus pandemic has brought to light what is taking down the industries, teaching them to slow down and observe the changing behaviour of consumers, and the need for new strategies. Things are bleak in all the industries right now, but the grooming industry is particularly hard hit. In a profession that requires them to touch people, it’s likely believed that they won’t be able to ply their trades for days or even months to come.
The pandemic has drastically changed the scenario for the grooming industry, as it is the one that is completely based on human interaction and physical contact. Apart from consumers suffering from the fact that they can't book an appointment either online or offline for their regular grooming, there's an entire industry that earns from offering these services. The grooming industry which was witnessing some footfalls in January and February this year is now running dry.
As the country is under lockdown, all the salons and spas have been shut down temporarily. This has drastically affected the lives of many hairdressers and makeup artists as they are now jobless. Most of the hairdressers and other workers in these salons are from villages and are finding it difficult to survive without their jobs. Some of these workers are even supposed to send money to their families but are unable to do so due to their joblessness.
The grooming industry is expected to be hit harder than any other sector, Pre COVID-19 speculated data stated, the female grooming market to grow at a CAGR of over 26% and reach to $ 623 million by 2024. The Indian male grooming market was estimated to grow at a CAGR of 11% and cross $ 1.2 billion by 2024. But due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19, it seems like the ratios might change drastically as fear controls human heads.
Due to the outbreak, the grooming industry market might see a major fall in India. As people are quarantined in their houses several grooming products will see a drop in purchasing but as soon as they get back to their work the market may grow back gradually. Products like colour cosmetics might see downfall even after the lockdown is lifted. Indian grooming market may not pick up as soon as the epidemic situation is over. The growth will be relatively slow. As many people are considering COVID-19 as the revenge of Mother Nature, consumers may demand products that cause less harm to the environment. Sustainable products may gain preferences.
For an industry like grooming, the pandemic has created an unpleasant situation, with people being jobless, and no guarantee of future work. It has created uncertainty, as the consumer behaviour here is not so predictable. But still, as soon as everything starts to recover the industry to shall recover with time.
How do you think the industry is going to save it from sinking in this pandemic?
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