It’s Official; Men prefer to buy their male grooming products online. In a recent poll, *Ape to Gentleman readers voted 53.3% in favour of the online grooming stores to cater for all their male grooming requirements. The next most popular shopping venue was the Supermarket with 18.7%, followed by Beauty counters with 9.3%. Male grooming salons came a rather surprising 4th (8.4%), but then given the scarcity of male grooming venues, it should be expected. Airports were the least popular place to buy male grooming products for men with 7.5% of the voting.

Despite the convenience of being able to buy products at the Airport, as the consumers purchase is dependant on their travel arrangements, Airports cannot provide the man with a regular grooming routine adequate sustenance. While this is fine for the business travellers, the average travelling man would struggle to meet their grooming quota. So why is shopping online so popular with today’s grooming men?

Products Range

As male grooming is still a relatively new concept to most men (although in reality it isn’t), the vast majority of effective skincare brands aren’t available offline. With regards to the UK, popular US ranges such as Zirh, Anthony Logistics and The Art of Shaving, almost nowhere to be seen on the High Street. A recent visit to the US reported the opposite; Anthony Logistics, Zirh,Clinique and Lab Series, Kiehl’s were the main grooming brands visible. In an industry where there is now around 100 brands (and growing), the 5 aforementioned brands don’t quite cover the everyman’s needs.

Convenience

Gone are the days where you ordered products online and had to wait for weeks; most quality male grooming websites (Such as Niven & Joshua, Mankind, Lookmantastic) offer next day delivery as standard, so you don’t have to wait.

Information

There are now a plethora of men’s grooming blogs and forums to provide men with insightful tips on how to deal with specific grooming issues and products that work for them – information that isn’t freely available offline. After reading the information, men are just one click away from the product they desire, and one day away from using it.

‘Closet’ Groomers

This is probably on of  the most poignant reason for men preferring to use the online method to buy their products. While men use skin care products, it doesn’t mean they want the whole world to know about it. ‘Closet’ groomers like to keep their regimes to themselves, and the internet allows men to do that. No risk of being spotted by Auntie Gemima at the Beauty counter.

Embarrassment

According to a *Mintel (2008) report on Men’s Toiletries:

The majority of men prefer to shop for toiletries in a self-selection environment. In many department stores, men’s toiletries products are sold from the women’s counter. However, men tend to find the idea of buying from a beauty consultant intimidating

One in four men feel more comfortable when they can self-select without any help from a sales assistant. Interactive information available on the internet helps men with product advice and selection, without having to speak to a sales assistant. The Sanctuary of their computer screens, allows men to feel more comfortable browsing and to buy skin care products online that they would otherwise be too embarrassed to buy in-store.

In Conclusion…

While Supermarkets will cater for men with a very functional attitude towards toiletries, i.e. men that purchase mass-market products for their daily essentials such as shower gels, deodorants and shaving products, those with more advance regimes are not yet adequately catered for. For those men (and many others) the Online method of purchse is currently the best option. It seems that the male grooming client is an altogether different animal to its female counterpart; it’ll be interesting to repeat this Poll again in a year or so time, and see how just how that animal develops.

*Notes:

– The Poll results feature 104 respondents from the Ape to Gentleman website

– Repeat voters have been blocked to allow a fair representation and misleading data

– Industry Data taken from Mintel’s Report “Men’s Toiletries – UK- March 2008”

– The 2.8% Other answers in the Poll refer to Department Stores/Hypermarkets such as Macy’s and Walmart