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A new study by ACNielsen suggests that an increased interest by men in their appearance, hygiene and grooming has contributed to the growth in Personal Care categories around the world.

The study — What's Hot Around the Globe: Insights on Growth in Personal Care — analyzed retail purchases in 56 countries across nearly 60 categories. For instance, the sales value of shower gels, one of the fastest growing personal care categories worldwide, grew by seven percent in 2003, primarily on the strength of sales in male-oriented products. Two other categories — deodorants and razors & blades — are also benefiting from men’s newfound attention to appearance.

Sales of male-oriented products grew twice as fast as those of female-oriented products, according to the study.

"Women aren't the only ones focused on personal grooming," said Jane Perrin, ACNielsen Managing Director of Global Services and sponsor of the study. "In many of the countries we studied, the growth in personal care categories was impacted by the introduction of new male-oriented products. In the UK, for example, the shower gel category grew by only four percent last year, but the male segment grew by 18 percent."

The ACNielsen study also found the trend toward older populations is affecting purchases in the Personal Care arena.

"With the Baby Boomer segment getting older and continuing to influence the consumer marketplace, sales of anti-aging products are growing. Face & eye moisturizers grew by 10 percent with the introduction of creams that do everything from reducing wrinkles and minimizing dark circles to lightening age-spots," Perrin said. "We also saw 48 percent growth in products that remove stains from your teeth and whiten your smile."

Another age-related category that experienced growth was adult incontinence pads/pants, which was up four percent globally.
KC's View:
Our first reaction when we saw this story yesterday that this was just one more example of self-obsession, and that we guys ought to have more to worry about than face and eye moisturizers. Like the Mets. And the Red Sox. This whole metrosexual thing is getting a little out of hand…not that there’s anything wrong with it.

Then we opened the mail…and saw that five months earlier than expected, we had been sent the dreaded membership card from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). This on the same day that our oldest son graduated officially from high school.

Getting old. Oy.

Suddenly, personal grooming seems more important…like maybe we should start worrying more about those crows’ feet…the shape of our teeth…and maybe that whole incontinence thing.

How come you can’t find “botox” in the yellow pages?