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10.24.2009

Cosmetics for Men, Porn for Women - Herbivorous Men and Carnivorous Women Update



The "soshoku-kei danshi" (herbivore men) and "nikushoku-kei joshi" (carnivore women) has become a staple in modern day Japan.

And thus, perhaps it is no surprise that men are becoming more avid consumers of cosmetics while women are showing some serious appetite for pornographic content in cyber space.

Ever since I saw the Men's Beauty Book as an independent booklet inside the November 2008 issue of Men's Non-no (image left), it has really hit home for me that men's cosmetics have gone main stream here.

I wrote on the 24 February 2009 entry of the CarpediemJapan Word on the Street Blog about this, too, but seeing first the Shanghai Daily article in September, and then this week's Indepent article really drove this point home again.

Just to quicly summarize some of the definite facts:
- men are twice as more likely than women to make purchases after receiving samples
- Shiseido Men continues to enjoy 5% month on month growth since its launch in 2004
- Sales of men's skin care cosmetics increased 16.9% from 2007, to Y17.6 billion (€130 million) in 2008
- more than 59% of Japanese men now use facial wash, up from 48.8% in 2005. For university students, the 2009 figure soared to over 85%
- Last year alone, 3,600 new personal care products for men were launched globally, according to market research house Mintel Beauty Innovation

So, finally, the human male is becoming more like other creatures in nature that need to be beautiful to attract eligible females, it seems.
And the cosmetics industry can now aggressively market to the other half of the world's population, at least in this part of the world, anyway.

And to me, another indicator that women are becoming stronger still is that the number of women joining membership based pornographic content sites is on the rise in Japan, according to some insiders of the industry.

Bloomberg ran an interesting article on the estimated 100 billion yen market where some sites enjoy as many as 1,000 new members a day paying 10,000 yen to join. And then Biglobe ran a follow up article highlighting some speculation that one of the key drivers of membership and traffic to mobile porn sites is the rising number of female subscribers.

"If a man wants porn, he can go to a theater or rent a DVD and not worry much about it, whereas women find it too embarrassing to be seen doing those things. But on the mobile, she can have more privacy and therefore, it is easier for women to access such content through mobile phones."

Department store sales of fashion items in Japan just recorded its 26th consecutive month of decline in September. Maybe some women as spending less money on fashion and pooling that not to save for even harsher times than today, but into porn on mobile phones?

This feels like yet another gender barrier being broken by aggressive and confident female consumers.

Several years ago, I went to an Economist conference in Hong Kong and had the good fortune of sitting in between the Regional Marketing Director for DeBeers and the CEO of LVMH Asia. Even then, I learned some very interesting facts about how Asian women consumers were more confident and more aggressive than perhaps their western counterparts when it came to shopping for themselves.

"We ran a campaign to urge successful women to buy diamonds for themselves globally. The campaign was most successful in Asia. It seems western women still want men to buy diamonds for them. But Asian women are happy to buy diamonds for themselves," I was told. I am sure the campaign had a slogan like: Women of the world, raise your right hand (and wear a diamond on that hand). And I guess a lot of Asian women did.

"We have this limited number of Swarovsky crystals covered champagne bottles that are very expensive - and they sell like hot cakes! Women buy them for hen's night parties and other special girls' night out events. And Asia is outselling the rest of the world!"
Sparkling wine that sparkles on the outside as well - hmm... why not?

But now one is challenged to think: what markets/products/services that have traditionally been male or female targeted are left?

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