Gone are the days when beauty was simply seen as something that only fades with women. Beauty is for everyone – gender has no role to play here. This very shift in perception has led to the dynamism of the male beauty industry, which continues to grow at a rapid rate to be on par with its female counterpart. According to a report by Statista, the global male grooming market is expected to reach approximately $ 81.2 billion by 2024. In an exclusive conversation with Financial Express Online Suraj Chaudhari, co-founder and CEO of Zlade spoke about the men’s grooming market in India, the impact of Covid-19, the growth of manscaping in India, the latest trends and more. Excerpts:
What are the opinions on the men’s grooming market and what is the impact of Covid-19 on this segment?
Men’s grooming is still a 5-6 year old market in India if you consider it the market created by the first new age online brands. It’s still relatively new and there is still huge potential for growth. The market, which mainly consisted of shaving products, deodorants and skin whitening creams, now offers products ranging from personalized hair care to beard, skin, body and even foot care. Like all industries, Covid-19 was like a brick wall for this industry, when the lockdown started everything stopped. With markets closed, no one on the ground, even e-commerce was originally made to be closed.
But now the market is recovering and we are seeing spending like early 2020 levels, and in some cases even more than that. Covid-19 has accelerated e-commerce globally and India is no exception, in the United States 12 months has seen 10 years of growth in online retailing, and India is not far behind. So many people have been shopping online for the first time and we’ll see most of them getting used to shopping online for good. It was the only silver lining, if we can even call it that. With salons closing and zooming calls all the time, sales of men’s skincare products took off as men needed products that could help them look good at home.
What is the brand’s central position?
Our basic position has always been around shaving and waxing; we think we’re pretty good at it. Since January 2021, with the launch of our readyshaver range, we have everything for all shaving enthusiasts. We now cover the entire range of shaving, razors, system razors, shaving gels, aftershaves, for men and women, as well as intimate hair removal solutions such as the Ballistic range of body hair trimmers.
Since the market is flooded with grooming products, what makes you unique?
We have always been very clear in our approach and focused only on shaving under Zlade. The ultimate goal is to make the word ‘Zlade’ synonymous with lame. As you have rightly noticed that the market is flooded with grooming products, it is very difficult for a consumer to choose the best products, and we have always helped consumers choose the best, by keeping a portfolio of products. very focused. As a result, we have a loyal customer base and a very healthy 30% retention rate. What Colgate is to toothpaste, Zlade will be to a shaving blade.
What was the growth in your turnover (MOM) during the pre-pandemic and post-Covid period?
We have experienced immense growth during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, we were growing steadily at around 15-20%, and we hit our lowest numbers in April. Since May, when e-commerce was allowed to operate, we had our best all-time numbers in June and July, so much so that our products sold out in November. This year, with the launch of new products, we have seen growth of up to 100% MoM in August from July and we intend to continue to grow by at least 50% MoM.
Tell us about Zlade’s flagship products that were in high demand during the pandemic.
Our razors and the Ballistic Body Trimmer were our bestsellers during the pandemic, as salons were closed during most of the pandemic, we saw increasing demand for our products. Since most people couldn’t go outside to shave or cut their hair, our products have helped many consumers do so in the comfort of their own homes.
How do you see the growth of manscaping in India?
Manscaping has always been a topic discussed behind closed doors, or not discussed at all. Even men don’t discuss it with their friends or partners, but everyone manscaping from time to time. With Ballistic, we want men to be comfortable discussing personal hygiene and body hair. Whether you want to wax or keep it off, you shouldn’t hesitate to look for products to help you do that. We see that immense potential in this market is over by the time Bollywood had actors like Anil Kapoor flaunting body hair, showing him a clean shaven chest with six pack abs. Men used to be laughed at if they tried to shave their arms or legs, but now it is an acceptable practice and more and more men have started to remove hair. But men still don’t have the proper tools for this, and the current deals are either going to a salon or doing it at home with messy products like depilatory creams or painful hair removal. Ballistics solves this problem.
You are venturing into the category of personal care for women. Let us know how you would like to promote and take advantage of this in the market. What types of products will be included in the category?
We had been intending to present our range for women for 2 years, but the pandemic disrupted our plans and we finally introduced the Summer by Zlade range for women. We started the category with a portfolio focused on shaving and the current portfolio consists of the Splash Hair Removal Mini Razor and the Face & Brow Razor. I think the problem is similar to men facing manscaping, women also had limited options when trying to pluck body hair, and in most cases it required them to go to a salon.
While we are aware that most women visit salons not only to take care of certain things but for the experience and indulgence, at the same time women should be given more options. Hair removal is not something women enjoy and we want to make the experience better for them. There is also the issue of the pink tax, where a women’s razor will be twice as expensive as its male counterparts for no reason, and we are addressing that issue.
What are the latest trends in the grooming segment?
I think the latest grooming trends are the personalized offerings and the emphasis on sustainability. Many brands are introducing sustainable products, recyclable packaging and a comprehensive climate-friendly approach.
What are the new products launched in the pipeline in the next 6 months?
We have always maintained a very limited product portfolio and it is already changing. We now have a full range of men’s shaving products, which we will continue to expand over the coming months. The Ballistic range will see more products, specifically intended for men’s intimate hygiene, as well as the current range of body hair removal. The Summer line for women will see some additions, like disposable razors, bikini solutions and intimate hair removal, as well as before and after shaving solutions to address issues such as itchy after shaving and ingrown hairs.