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Men's Cosmetics

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Current Status of the Industry in Lebanon Compared to the Middle East

Nowadays the male grooming routine has changed dramatically. It no longer consists of the three S's: Shaving, Showering and Shampooing; males are becoming more interested in improving their looks. Fashion for men has been becoming more and more important in the last decade, especially in the Middle East. Today, in order to tailor the man's appearance to perfection, cosmetics companies have created a line just for men.

In the past few years, a number of major cosmetics companies have entered the Middle East and partnered with key regional distributors and retailers to expand their market and increase their sales. The demand for men's products has grown tremendously with a growth rate equal to 12%. According to Paul Cochrane, "some areas of the Middle East are not enjoying the best of times at the moment, but others are far from experiencing the worst", although Lebanon seems to be enjoying high sales in its male grooming sector that are estimated to be $180 million a year, these returns seem low compared to other middle eastern countries like the UAE that enjoyed total retail sales estimated to be over $414 million last year while Saudi Arabia remains the main market for cosmetics and beauty products in the region.

Purpose and Scope of the Study

In order to improve this industry, we have began our report by examining and assessing Lebanon's economic and demographic situation in order to fully understand this market then we moved to the marketing strategy currently being used in the industry to target this market by weighing its positive and negative features. The main goal of this study is to determine the strategy's weak points and give alternate solutions. Many questions were answered in this study, including:

Ð'§ What's the current status of the industry in Lebanon compared to other Middle Eastern countries?

Ð'§ What are the factors disturbing it?

Ð'§ What are the products currently being offered in the market?

Ð'§ What type of strategy are the marketers applying to promote their products?

Ð'§ Which grooming products are succeeding and which are not and why?

Ð'§ How can the companies increase men's interest in their products and services?

Ð'§ How can we improve the current strategy?


In order to fully understand the Lebanese market of this industry, we have interviewed a number of salespeople from BHV, Spinney's and ABC in addition to the manager of Hamza, a salon located in Beirut currently offering men grooming services. Furthermore, a survey was distributed to 30 people in order to get an insight on how Lebanese people are reacting to the idea of men wearing makeup and taking care of their appearance. Moreover, we have collected information from various sources, including webpages and magazines in order to obtain a full analysis of the current situation.

Lebanon's Economic Status

One of the major reasons behind the surprisingly slow growth rate in the male beauty care products and services industry in Lebanon is its economic status. Lebanon has been going through several political instabilities as well as economical insecurities and the majority of the population is on a limited income leading it to only purchase essentials instead of luxuries. Lebanon has been undergoing an inflation rate of 2.4% ( annually leading to considerable increase in prices of both essential and luxury products with a steady minimum wage of 200$/month. These circumstances are causing the decrease of the purchasing power of the average Lebanese consumer. Lebanon's male grooming sector was also affected by the month-long war last year and the series of assassinations that led to further economical damage.

Male grooming products are well spread in Lebanon; they can be found anywhere from shopping centers and malls (BHV, Spinney's, ABC Ð'...) to drug stores. After interviewing a number of salespeople in different locations, results showed that these products are being consumed by upper class males (young and mature) rather than lower class ones, they also showed that these goods are rarely getting any customers in shopping centers like Spinney's, unlike in BHV, a higher class department store; "Products like L'OrÐ"©al's anti-ageing and hydrating crÐ"Ёmes have been on the counter for many months now, we haven't even added any because they're not being sold; unlike the basic male beauty care products like after shaves and deodorants that are highly demanded" claims the salesperson in Spinney's.

Since Lebanon has neither local cosmetics companies nor foreign manufacturing businesses, it is forced to import these products and thus paying taxes on them which increases their prices. Our fieldwork observations gave us a general idea about the prices and they varied from L.P 25,000 to L.P150,000 depending on their brand and their purpose. Most of our survey respondents confirmed that they spend under 50$ for their cosmetic purchases and since the prices are considerably high for such a budget, the monthly/yearly sales volume will turn out to be pretty low.

Lebanon's Demographics

Lebanon represents a very important market because of its youthful population with more than 50% under 25 years old and "it is during these early years that the expenditure on personal care and beauty products is at its peak, prior to the onset of financial responsibilities" (Heather Nix, 2007). This makes Lebanon an opportunity not to be missed for retailers and producers of personal care and beauty items. Our survey showed that 80% of males under 25 are with cosmetics for men but only 75% use them or are willing to try them (See Appendix C), opposed to older men who are more "conservative" and against them; however the purchasing power and the willingness to pay remains in the hands of older males who are financially stable. In addition, the survey shows that more than 80% of young males are against anti-ageing crÐ"Ёmes and hair dyes claiming that it will never be "unattractive" or "old fashioned" to look old (See Appendix C).

Lebanon's relatively low sales in the men's Cosmetics



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