In a report released in late 2021 by consumer insights company GWI, it was discovered that the worldwide male consumers’ interest in beauty and cosmetics jumped by 21% between 2018 and Q2 of 2021, peaking in early 2020 and earning it the status of “category with the fastest-growing interest.” Many credited the “WFH” or work-from-home trend as the main reason for such a sudden spike in men’s grooming products since 2020. While this may be applicable on a global scale, there is, however, one singular exception: South Korea.
South Korean men have long embraced the men’s grooming trend way before the recent growth. In fact, according to CNN, it had already surpassed all other countries in the globe in terms of skincare spending over the previous 10 years, from 2010 to 2020. Let’s find out what this global market leader for men’s grooming products has in store for us in 2023!
You may have heard of K-pop, K-drama, and even K-beauty, so by now, you have probably been able to deduce what is K-grooming here. It is essentially the same as K-beauty but with an emphasis on men’s grooming products, led mainly by a large group of passionate male consumers in South Korea. To be precise, based on the latest study from Opensurvey, they represent 8 out of 10 males between 20 and 49, who regularly use skin care products while also routinely getting grooming products at least once every two months.
Better still, almost all of them made their buying decision by themselves, as 75.6% of them were involved in the product choosing process, and 80% of them purchased online. With such a high penetration rate of men’s grooming products among its targeted consumers, it certainly seems unwise to source male grooming products without first taking a look at the trends in South Korea.
K-grooming guides for trendy male products in 2023
According to this online dictionary, the term gender-inclusive basically means to accept and include individuals of all genders. In terms of the Korean beauty industry, this is certainly something that has already been widely adopted. From hydrating masks to sunscreen with SPF of 50+ and facial cleansers, plenty of Korean skincare products already have their gender-neutral versions released.
However, with the recent success of a few relatively new Korean grooming firms, namely BTSO (Born To Stand Out) and Sequence, which passionately embrace the gender-inclusive concept through their innovative products, the notion of gender-inclusive is now being transcended to a whole new level. As Korean men usher in many beauty products that were once considered “for girls” or “female-only,” cosmetic items such as BB cream and concealers are now offered with gender-inclusive options too.
It is worth noting that when it comes to such cosmetics items, men tend to choose foundation products that blend in more naturally with their skin for adequate natural coverage and to look closer to their natural skin tone. Most guys who need to spend a lot of time outdoors or who are physically active also favor cosmetic products with a lighter texture and longer-lasting effects for a simpler regimen. For example, they may choose a BB cream with features as shown in the picture below:
During the projection period of 2022–2027, it is anticipated that the worldwide market for organic skincare products will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.72%. The primary driving forces for such a continuous expansion are the rise in consumer knowledge of health and well-being over the last two years as well as the expansion of environmental concerns. Indeed, skincare and beauty products with natural ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and alpha hydroxy acid are now widely available.
Despite their higher price tags, these products continue to be in great demand among customers who are becoming more and more health-conscious. Nevertheless, astute marketers have also moved quickly to provide consumers with more alluring alternatives to make up for this portion of the cost by offering both recyclable and refillable products. As usual, K-beauty is among the forerunners in embracing novel ideas, such as this new store that totally switched to refillable products in 2021 and allows customers to bring their own bottles for refill.
The same development is gradually spreading to Korean men’s grooming products, as shown on several top Korean brands, including Black Monster, which has gained fame in numerous reviews since 2018. It has so far released many refillable items that are easy to disassemble and replenish. Indeed, refillable containers for beauty products, especially those with substantial size and elegant design, may not only look attractive to the users but also prove to be extremely useful and long-lasting.
On the other hand, an environmentally friendly skincare container that is also refillable, like a travel-size squeezable dispenser or an airless pump bottle as seen in the image above, is perhaps even more appealing and practical at the same time to the consumers.
While gender inclusivity is unmistakably a key theme among the K-grooming trends that are progressively evolving, it is essentially a step towards a larger goal—expanding product offerings. For instance, a men’s grooming line for facial care can go beyond the typical face cleanser to include toner and lotion, as seen in the image below. It may also be expanded to much more, such as eye cream, oil cleanser, perfume, or even a men’s makeup series, all in an effort towards a more comprehensive product line expansion for customer retention rate and loyalty.
Grafen, a K-grooming brand that was once viewed mainly as specialized in hair care products, for example, has successfully reinvented itself to be an A-Z product expert in men’s grooming products in recent years. They are now offering fragrance, styling tools, and body care products, aside from their standard skincare and cosmetic collections.
Even those who stick with their original product focus are expanding their product line by including more options. Be Ready, the Korean brand under Amorepacific, which includes a great variety of foundation shades, is one such example that thrived with stellar results.
Therefore, instead of sticking to the basic face care products, expand the product line to include things like moisturizing cream and anti-aging skincare cream. The majority of Korean brands can expand their product offerings by introducing something distinctively known as “Korean skincare routines,” which are frequently accompanied by step-by-step instructions that can be really helpful to male customers who are less experienced with the world of beauty products.
Beyond à la mode
Sure enough, beauty products or any grooming products for men were once viewed solely through the prism of fashion. These days, however, due to the increasing acceptance and the rise in men’s personal care concerns, these goods are shedding their image as fashion items and are becoming actual day-to-day essentials. The three K-grooming product directions—gender-inclusive products, replenishable packaging, and an extensive line of products—may serve as leading indicators for the overall development trend in men’s grooming in 2023. Based on these Korean men’s grooming ideas and a careful examination of the vast selection provided on Alibaba.com, wholesalers may seize the opportunity to capitalize on the steadily growing demand for men’s grooming solutions.