Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hispanic Men's Market Potential Could Redefine Ethnic Grooming Sets
Antoinette Alexander
The Hispanic market is hot as such celebrities as Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Lopez and Salma Hayek become the epitome of beauty in the eyes of America. Response to this cultural shift is becoming increasingly evident in how companies go to market with women's beauty care products, but when it comes to catering to Hispanic men, a great deal of untapped opportunities remain.

"The Latina has been an incredible focus and force [in the beauty industry[, and the man certainly is going to bring that same kind of sexiness," said David Wolfe, creative director for the Doneger Group.

Despite the increased focus on the Hispanic community and its immense buying power, most of the ethnic grooming products still found at drug and mass are geared toward African-Americans, in large part because they tend to have more specific skin and hair care needs versus other ethnic groups. However, research suggests that lucrative opportunities exist for those retailers and manufacturers that can overcome the cautionary mantra of "so many options, so little demand" and effectively reach this growing consumer group.

Marketers should be encouraged to know that Hispanic men--who ascended to the rank of the most numerous U.S. minority as of 2003--are expected to have a spending power of $271 billion to $361 billion in 2004. By 2008, that spending range is predicted to climb to between $450 billion and $600 billion, according to a research report by Packaged Facts.

Furthermore, the research predicts that the men's ethnic HBC market, driven in part by Hispanic men, will be valued at more than $1.7 billion at retail as of 2008--a total gain of nearly 20 percent between 2003 and 2008.

Many industry observers agree that Hispanic men have long been known for taking great pride in their hair, skin and clothes. So, as the men's grooming segment continues to grow, it would seem that catering to Hispanic men would be a natural fit.

[Hispanic men] were metrosexuals ahead of their time. It is not like they are becoming metrosexuals--there was just never a word for it before," said Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Hispanic marketing firm Enlace Communications. She noted that much of Hispanic men's interest in personal grooming stems from the cultural belief that how a person presents himself to society says something about his family.

However, that is not to say that targeting the Hispanic consumer--whether male or female--is not complex. Issues that tend to tangle the web include cultural differences, language preferences and understanding the specific needs of a customer whether they are Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or South American.

Newman-Carrasco suggests that because the Hispanic community is a collective culture--versus Caucasians who are more individualistic--marketers should find ways to get involved in community events to get the word out, such as promoting their products at a local baseball game.

"Hispanics are community-oriented, and there are a lot of events and opportunities to integrate products into the community," Newman-Carrasco said. "What sports are Hispanics interested in? What events are they at? There are a lot of innovative ways to speak to the community."
Looking to target the Hispanic consumer in general, not necessarily just men for personal grooming, several drug chains, such as Longs Drug Stores, Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS, have ramped up targeted merchandising efforts to reach Hispanic shoppers.

Being based in New York, Ricky's Urban Groove--the eclectic and extremely fashion-forward chain of HBA stores--is in the heart of an ethnic melting pot and for years has merchandised its stores to reflect that diversity.

Ricky Kenig, the founder of the 22-store retail outlet, said that about 30 percent of its customers are Hispanic, and as a result, Ricky's always has offered in its ethnic section some grooming products geared toward Hispanics--male and female.

At Newark, Del.-based Happy Harry s, Kathy Ross, HBC category manager, said she has seen very little activity from vendors looking to target Hispanic men specifically.

"It seems like [men's grooming], started leaning toward the Hispanics, and then it became more about men in general," Ross said.

However, there are indications that perhaps the Hispanic male's time is about to come.
Manufacturer Combe rolled out in 2003 a new shade of Just For Men hair color designed specifically for Hispanic men. Known as Castano Negro Oscuro, or Darkest Brown Black, the new shade is available in a shampoo-in hair color, as well as in a brush-in gel for mustaches, beards and sideburns.

Meanwhile, Dana Classic Fragrances recently introduced in the United States four Hispanic scents for men: Musk by Dana, Vetiver by Dana, Herbissimo Mejorana and Herbissimo Te Verde. For years, the fragrances have been hot sellers in Europe, and now the company is hoping to generate the same buzz in the U.S. market. The fragrances, which retail for $9.99 each, are being sold now in select Rite Aid and Kmart locations and likely will expand to other retailers.

"We analyzed the market, and the Hispanic market is growing very fast. It only makes sense to market to them," said Sean-Patrick Hillman of Corbin & Associates, which represents Dana Classic Fragrances. He noted that the company eventually plans to introduce ancillary products like aftershave to the U.S. market.

Patricia Bailey of the PBailey Group said that in the spring, manufacturer Global Cosmetics Co. will launch a new Hispanic line for both men and women under its Radical brand.

In addition, Global Cosmetics Co. currently is targeting retailers with value sections and dollar stores with its new styling gel under the New York Style brand. The product, which has bilingual labeling, targets ethnic consumers and will retail for about $1 each.

"Now that the [term] metrosexual exists in the marketing segment, the next logical step is to say, 'Who is the metrosexual?' and, seeing that they are Hispanics, Newman-Carrasco said.Projected growth of male populations in the United States *
compound annual
Race/ethnicity 2004 2007 2010 growth rate
Hispanics 18.5 20.2 21.8 2.7%
African-Americans 16.6 17.2 17.8 1.0
Asian/Pacific Islanders 5.8 6.3 6.8 2.9
Ethnic male population 40.9 43.7 46.4 2.1
Overall male population 139.5 143.1 146.7 0.8
* Population in millions. Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce,
Bureau of the Census, Packaged Facts

COPYRIGHT 2004 Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.

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