The big news in male grooming so far this year has been the Lynx brand’s move into hair care. Brand owner Unilever says the new range "taps into the strong and sustained growth of the male grooming market". The company’s internal stats show that use of deodorants by men has increased by almost 40% in the past 15 years, while Kantar Worldpanel data reveals that hair care plays a major role in daily routines for men accounting for 14% of male grooming usage occasions.

So, in response to this, comes the new Lynx hair care range which includes shampoos, pastes, waxes and gels.

Lynx hair brand manager Richard Whitty believes that as the UK’s biggest ’men only’ brand, Lynx is uniquely placed to untap the male potential from hair care. "UK males are increasingly buying ’men only’ products for which they are willing to pay a premium," he says.

"We know that Lynx shoppers are style conscious and spend more time and money on their hair compared to the wider UK male market."

Partners for Growth controller at Unilever Tom Hazelden says male grooming is one of the three strongest-performing categories in health and beauty, along with hair care and oral care. "Core toiletries (shower products and deodorants) are the main categories driving the performance for male toiletries as more men start to use a ’for men’ version of products they already use."

Hazelden recommends that retailers move men’s toiletries away from femcare and that the toiletries fixture flows from men’s to women’s so that men’s products can be easily seen.

He continues: "Research shows that shoppers expect to find all the male specific products in one place in the store and they shop by problem/solution. Therefore it is recommended that products are merchandised by sub categories razor and blades, shower, deodorants, body spray, skincare, shave prep and hair care.

"There are two major signpost sub-categories which both contain key brands for the category razors/blades with Gillette, and deodorants with Lynx. When shoppers see these within the fixture they know they have arrived at the male toiletries section so make sure these flank either end of the section. Everything else in between will then be better shopped as a result."

When it comes to category performance, Hazelden says: "Deodorants, body sprays and skin care have remained fairly untouched by the recession in usage/volume terms due to the personal nature of the products namely you choose your deodorant because you know it works and won’t compromise price for lower efficacy. But razors and blades have seen a slow down as men make their razors last longer."

However, the current economic climate has been beneficial to the Super-Max brand, with its strategy to offer price-conscious consumers a top quality shaving experience at a very affordable everyday low price.

Super-Max business manager Sarah Wayman explains: "Within convenience outlets, the price perception of shaving products is high, so purchases are normally only distress ones. This means Super-Max blades are an ideal choice."

The range includes ’pound zone’ products. Wayman says these allow retailers to put them out on display on shelf, rather than hiding them away behind the counter. The £1 products include razors, gels and foams.

Also available are what Wayman describes as "premium yet affordable" triple and four-blade disposables for men and women. The latest launch from Super-Max is of travel packs. There are £1 packs for men and women containing one blade and 45ml foam, as well as £2 packs which contain two premium blades and 45ml foam.

Brand action

Elsewhere in the health and beauty market there has been a lot of activity with brand makeovers. P&G’s Pantene has undergone its biggest-ever product upgrade. The result is three easily identifiable collections: fine hair, normal/thick hair and coloured hair while Aussie has added another favourite Australian ingredient to its entire shampoo and conditioner range aloe vera which will be highlighted on-pack.

The range also has larger packs for families and those who share their hair care products. And Wash and Go has had a formula upgrade along with the addition of 200ml Solo packs.

P&G’s head of trade communications Paul Lettice comments: "New Wash and Go not only offers consumers an improved formula across the range for brilliant performance, but also offers fantastic value for money. As well as the appealing round £1 price point, the new packs will have great stand-out on shelf and are the perfect size for smaller independent stores."

Finally, the UK’s number-one female blades and razor brand Gillette Venus (IRI data) has three new lines for women with sensitive skin. The Venus ProSkin MoistureRich razor has built-in shave gel bars enhanced with body butters.

The Venus ProSkin Sensitive razor has been designed to achieve a close shave with less irritation, while new Venus SatinCare Pure & Delicate shave gel has been formulated to complement all Venus razors for a closer, more efficient shave.

Says Lettice: "The key to increasing the high value health and beauty category is good merchandising. This means shelves should be kept fully stocked, grouped by sub category, with a good product range. Sales can be further increased by using strong point-of-sale material to differentiate from other categories and by ensuring that all shelf-edge labels are correct and under the relevant product."

Retailer view:

Patricia McArdle, Spar Banbridge, County Down:

"We have two bays for health and beauty products plus a £1 end display and some lines behind the counter. Some items we like to keep close to the till so we can keep an eye on them. We’ve always got about five lines on promotion and the Spar brand products sell well. Our best sellers are Lynx and Head and Shoulders but our £1 lines like Supersoft go well too; it’s a mixed bag really."

toiletry merchandising tips

l Make sure your customers are aware that you stock toiletries 18% of shoppers don’t realise they can buy toiletries at their local store, so place them in the top up area where they can be seen.

l If practical constraints mean some high-value products need to be behind the counter, use visual prompts to ensure your customers ask for what they need and don’t just leave empty handed.

l Availability is crucial if shoppers can’t find what they want, they will often defer the purchase more so in toiletries than in other categories. For example, 36% of shoppers would go without or go to another store if the deodorant they wanted was not available.

l Use point of sale to signpost your fixture. Shoppers are often in a hurry, so make sure your toiletries fixture is well signposted so shoppers can find it quickly.

l Stock the best sellers 75% of shoppers intend to buy a leading toiletries brand.

l Range simplicity is key, so you should stock the best selling lines in the best selling toiletries categories. The number of lines stocked should then be based on the space available.

l Clearly divide the fixture into product groups. This can be a complicated fixture to shop, so it is important that it is merchandised logically. Men, in particular, are more comfortable if their products are separated from women’s ranges.

l Block vertically by brand. People are very loyal to particular brands.

l Keep shelves full and double face the best selling lines even if this means removing some of the slower selling brands.

l Place your best selling products at eye level.

Source: Unilever Partners for Growth