- Male grooming products market is expected to exceed $3.3 million by 2022
- Xiaomi is the latest company to enter this vertical in India
Male style statements in this country historically has been defined by Bollywood and cricket. For the longest time, the clean shaven look of Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan meant that millennials invested in 7 o clock blades, and the next generation invested in Gillette multi-blade systems.
Somewhere along the line, Emraan Hashmi popularized the unshaven, bad boy look, while these days, the salt and pepper look seems to be in fashion. Fashion inspired by cricketers runs along in parallel. While Virat Kohli fans sport stylish beards, Dhoni fans are happy to shave it all off. Things were much simpler in the 90s. If you needed to shave, you simply picked up foam and a razor or occasionally visited the neighborhood barber. Today, things are more complex. Beards need styling and grooming, and grooming tools are becoming more sophisticated. So sophisticated that you need smart phone manufacturers and consumer electronic brands to make and sell them.
Xiaomi, that entered the Indian market with affordable smart phones, followed by TVs, air purifiers and recently sun glasses, recently launched its first ever beard trimmer. Priced at Rs 1199, the Mi Beard Trimmer comes with innovative features such as self-sharpening blades, a travel lock, a waterproof design, and interchangeable blade heads.
While the trimmers you find in salons are heavier and more complex, Xiaomi has optimized its product for cordless usage, and offers the ability to charge from a power bank. All of this at a price point of around Rs. 1000 makes it an attractive proposition, for a first time user who wants to migrate from the foam and razor habit.
Affordability is key
Most male grooming gadgets seem to be following this simple principle; if you want to change an existing habit, offer a new tool at a compelling price, and then consolidate the market with innovation. Knowing Xiaomi, the beard trimmer will be only the first device in a series that will soon follow.
It is the same brand that launched sports shoes for men recently through its crowd-sourcing products. With absolutely no known expertise in shoe manufacturing, the company was able to churn out a product that was lightweight, airy, multi-functional, and machine washable. The message is clear – the tech and consumer electronics folks are using their R&D muscle to create gadgets that are disruptive yet useful.
Huge market opportunity
The male grooming tools market, on the other hand, has been steadily growing, with e-commerce shopping sites providing the much needed impetus. It is expected to exceed $3.3 million by 2022. With brands such as Syska, making a beeline for this market through affordable shavers and electric razors, the conventional biggies such as Philips and Vega are scrambling for space and market share. Of course, it is only a matter of time before their own innovations find takers, but in all likelihood, affordability will still be a factory since they would rely on brand loyalty more than anything.
An average Syska trimmer is priced at around Rs. 1500, and comes with features like universal voltage inputs and self adjusting blades. At this price, you can barely get a Gillette razor, a supply of 2 blades and a decently good shaving foam. Male vanity is now serious business, and brands of all kinds and sizes are aboard the bandwagon, with a roller coaster ride in store.
This story has been submitted by Vishnu Anand. He is working as a technology and business journalist under the guidance of veteran journalist Anand Parthasarathy (Ex-The Hindu).