August 26, 2019

Affluent Millennial men and the grooming paradox

Michael Baer // WTF BEAUTY

Grooming has long been the domain of women. But as social mores evolve, affluent (household income $125,000+) Millennial men are making inroads into this formerly forbidden territory in ways their fathers couldn’t have imagined.

Yet, while these men care as much about their appearance as women their age, old-fashioned attitudes about masculinity are creating tensions that brands and retailers should recognize—and resolve.

Older affluent males report having speedy morning rituals, while a majority of Millennial men say they spend a “great deal” or “fair amount” of time on theirs. At the same time, they’re also less likely than other men to say the time is well-spent.

In other words, affluent Millennial men want to look their best but don’t feel great about the effort expended or the results. Their inexperience with new products and routines contributes to their dissatisfaction with their results.

How they access grooming information is one source of tension. While they turn to more sources than older men do, they lag behind affluent Millennial women, especially from insight from friends, family and all forms of media. Affluent Millennial men say that they do not discuss this topic with friends.

Thus, more dissonance: young men are actively seeking grooming inspiration. But traditionally, men don’t discuss grooming habits with those closest to them and the data confirms that.

Finally, affluent Millennial men report spending less money per month on products than any other demographic aside from 50+ men—less than $50 a month. This group cares deeply about grooming and spends time in grooming activities, yet even affluent Millennial men don’t spend much money on the category. There is an opportunity for marketers to ignite this group’s interest, education and spending.

Affluent Millennial men represent a rich opportunity—and a fascinating challenge—for grooming brands and retailers. This powerful group would likely welcome education and inspiration, especially if messaging is presented in a way that affirms their identity.

Michael Baer

Michael Baer is senior vice president, Head of Audience Measurement/Ipsos Affluent Intelligence.


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Millennial men believe grooming is important, but aren’t sure they’re getting it right.

Older men Millennial men

Time I spend is worth it (Strongly Agree) Time I spend is worth it (Strongly Agree) 26% 13%

Spend as little time and effort on my outward appearance Spend as little time and effort on my outward appearance 11% 10%

Spend a great deal of time and effort on my outward appearance Spend a great deal of time and effort on my outward appearance 13% 16%

Outward appearance is extremely/very important Outward appearance is extremely/very important 43% 57%

The first rule of Millennial men’s grooming: We don’t talk about grooming.

Percent who seek information from the following sources.

Millennial women Millennial men

Do not share information Do not share information 39% 55%

Family member Family member 23% 12%

Magazines Magazines 22% 12%

Online videos Onine videos 21% 13%

Significant other Significant other 6% 16%

Social media Social media 59% 21%

Friends Friends 31% 25%

Stores Stores 29% 45%

(Source: Ipsos Affluent Survey, Spring 2019 and Barometer 2018)

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, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, U.S., Ipsos Affluent Intelligence |

Michael Baer is former SVP, Head of Audience Measurement/Ipsos Affluent Intelligence. His focus is helping marketers and publishers understand and activate “Affluencers,” America’s most influential and powerful consumers across every category. For over 25 years, Michael has been an omni-channel marketing/advertising/research leader working at agencies, start-ups and media companies.

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