Male skincare: do ingredients impact purchase decisions?

Men increasingly use skincare products as part of their daily routine. In April, a Vypr data showed that almost 72% of male consumers in the UK use skincare products, a result based on 8354 responses. It is interesting that this ratio is consistently high across all ages, with Millennials aged 25-34 scoring highest with almost 75%.

Skin care solutions for men are becoming more sophisticated, catering for different skin concerns and benefits. Brands strive to improve performance, aesthetics and marketing claims for products marketed specifically towards men. Products become more specific in targeting take both the changes that occur with age and the difference between male and female skin, such as thickness of skin, rates of sebum production, collagen levels, proneness to acne.

Using a multi-answer steer, we asked male consumers who confirmed that they use skincare products, whether they would buy a skincare product, addressing one or more of six skin problems. The ratio of consumers, giving a positive answer, is shown below:

Dry skin is a top skincare concern for men, which they are keen to address with skincare products. This is relatively consistent across age groups. Skin ageing ranked second with younger consumers scoring lower in their propensity to buy related skincare than their older counterparts. Irritation, oily skin, acne and blemishes scored between 19% and 27%, meaning that related claims are influential purchase triggers, despite the fact that each of these particular problems only affects a smaller group of consumers.

Skincare products aim to prevent or treat skin problems by featuring specific ingredients, which brands strive to position as effective by investing in scientific research. Vypr attempted to determine the current level of men’s awareness of and interest in six ingredients and to establish whether ingredient-related statements can influence purchase decisions. In a multi-answer steer we asked 439 male skin care users which of six skin care ingredients would convince them to buy a skincare product:

27% of the panel did not choose any of the ingredients, which suggests that a substantial proportion of the male skincare users are not influenced by ingredient claims in their choices. It is likely, however, that men will be increasingly interested and informed about ingredients in future, as the awareness of substances in consumer products, harmful or useful for human health, is growing.

Collagen was the only ingredient that topped 30%. Naturally available in the human body, this substance is responsible for skin strength and elasticity, and its degradation leads to wrinkles that accompany aging. Although it is disputed whether skincare with collagen can counteract this process, the ingredient remains one of the most popular anti-aging agents.

Probiotics attracted 28% of our panel. Defined as “micro-organisms that can benefit their host” they can target a variety of problems, from dry skin and irritation to the normal signs of aging. Most often taken as a supplement for gut health, the use of topical probiotics for skin health is relatively new.

We attempted to establish whether information about the functional ingredients of a product could enhance its market success. We ran a “split by description” test showing an identical product with two different descriptions to two separate sets of male skin care users. Both descriptions highlight an identical targeted problem, however, only one gives details about the active ingredients used:

The result is encouraging for brands marketing to male skincare users, as whether or not information about active ingredients is clearly stated, around 77% of potential shoppers say they would buy an anti-aging moisturiser. Communicating the active ingredients does not seem to make much difference, especially for younger consumers under 35. The interest towards them slightly rises for their older counterparts.

Currently men are active skincare users, willing to address common skincare problems, such as dry skin, but also looking to improve the appearance of aging skin. This demand encourages innovations in skincare products, with male customers expecting ever-increasing choice and effectiveness. Awareness about active ingredients is not yet ruling the male skin care category, but including related information on the front of packaging could boost sales of anti-aging products, targeting older consumers.

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