Male grooming industry grows beards—and market share

Though it flies under the radar compared to its flashier cousins, the cosmetics and women’s hair care markets, the male grooming industry continues to boom in 2018. This $8.7 billion market in the US has taken off in recent years with even greater growth expected in the future. Growth is set to increase from 1.4% in 2017 to 3.8% in 2022 in the U.S., according to GCI Magazine. There are several factors central to these developments, perhaps most notably, the growth of barbershops and the redesign of retail stores, barbershops and salons.

Barbershops have become one of the leading drivers of male grooming trends. The number of barbershops in the U.S. actually decreased by 23 percent from 1992 to 2012 according to Census data, so the recent resurgence of these shops has been quite the surprise for industry professionals. In fact, according to Forbes, barbering as a profession is now growing quicker than any other profession in the country.

The driving force behind this turnaround is that clients have embraced the experience that comes with the barbershop. The atmosphere exudes a sort of simple, comfortable yet masculine lifestyle that many modern male clients enjoy. A basic layout with retro style furniture, TVs tuned into the latest sports news and events and sleek interior design allow men to feel as if they’re visiting a place where they can relax and enjoy themselves while their grooming is done. Barbershops are only going to continue to grow, especially as star athletes like LeBron James begin hosting their own talk shows in them.

Part of the barbershops’ appeal is their ability to offer a wide range of services beyond just haircuts, such as skin care treatments. Before business owners follow the lead of these barbershops and expand their range of services, they must make sure that their employees are properly trained and educated to groom customers in new ways. It is also important for owners to check with their insurer on the breadth of their coverage to confirm that there aren’t any gaps.

Retail store, barbershop and salon redesigns have been responsible for much of the industry’s rise. Even as the majority of sales in other industries have transitioned to online purchasing, in-store sales for male grooming products are still remarkably high. This is because these locations have redesigned their layout to attract potential customers. Barbershops, for example, have emphasized basic and retro design that appeals to the simplicity that many male customers seek. The positive experience they consequently enjoy inherently makes them more likely to spend more money. Barbershops have had a lot of success appealing to their customers this way and then properly positioning their products for sale.

This trend has had a similar effect in retail stores. Dedicated male grooming sections in department stores that feature straightforward access to products and emphasize simplicity have led to an improved consumer experience. The comfort that customers feel in these newly designed spaces makes them more likely to purchase in-store, which is why in-store sales represent the majority of product sales for the male grooming industry, according to this study.

Before adding retail products to your inventory for the first time, we recommended that you check in with your broker or insurer. Carrying other products will not directly affect your exposure to liability, but insurance experts can help you plan for significant changes to your operations. Plus, if a barbershop gets creative and starts making an in-house product line, they can take a look at Brownyard’s Foundation Program, a specialized liability insurance program that includes product liability coverage for manufacturers, importers and distributors.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at

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