Move over Mister Metrosexual, rugged retrosexuals all the rage
HUGH Laurie, once the comic foil of the comedy character Blackadder, has cut a swathe through sales of razors as men are now copying the actor's bearded and rugged look.
And the "metrosexual" male, whose bathroom cupboard was once as stocked with skincare products as his wife's, is now being threatened by the influence of the "retrosexual".
According to a new report, the market in male grooming products has been hit by a sales slump, partly triggered by the British actor's new role as the face of L'Oreal - and the rise in popularity of facial hair. Prompted by the stubbled face of icons such as Gerard Butler and Eric Cantona, men are now shaving less frequently.
The decline of the clean-shaven Metrosexual Man as well as the economic downturn has taken its toll on the grooming industry which focuses on men, according to the latest research. In the past year, sales of hair styling products have plummeted by almost 15 per cent, everyday fragrances are down 10 per cent and facial skincare fell by 1.8per cent.
In the report headlined "The Rise of the Retrosexual" trade magazine the Grocer also showed that volume sales of razors and blades were cut by 7 per cent despite a modest 0.9 per cent growth in value.
The market analysts Kantar Worldpanel said that value growth in the 862 million male grooming market has slowed from 2.2 per cent last year to 1.9 per cent this year and volumes have actually fallen 1.4 per cent, having last year grown by 5.5 per cent.
Last month, British actor and former Blackadder star Hugh Laurie, 52, became the new face of L'Oreal skincare for men and admitted that promoting the idea of beauty was a new departure for him.
A behind-the-scenes video from the ad campaign shows the House actor sitting in a chair while an attractive assistant files his nails. Laurie then jokes to the camera: "My name is Gerard Butler and this is how I look before I've applied l'Oreal's skincare for men. I'm very flattered to have been thought a fit subject to promote the idea of beauty. I care about beauty."
According to the Grocer magazine there is a change in men's attitude to stubble, and beards are now growing in popularity.
The Grocer said: "The slick, urban guy who took care of his appearance, used product on his hair and face and was unembarrassed about being scented and moisturised has made way for the more natural, rugged and beard-loving Retrosexual - as epitomised by Hugh Laurie, Zach Galifianakis and any male nu-folk singer you care to mention.
"It is worrying news for a male grooming category that is struggling to contend with price inflation and a massive consumer clampdown on discretionary spend - as the latest data reveals."It's true that premium products such as skincare, fragrance and hair styling products have been particularly hard hit with sales down significantly both in value and volume.
"But while the fact that the under-45s are shaving less can partly be put down to the austere times we are living in, it can also be attributed to changing facial fashions."
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