Daily rituals like Zhang’s have prompted L’Oreal SA, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, Nivea maker Beiersdorf AG and Japan’s Shiseido Co. to target men in China, the only country where Procter & Gamble sells Olay for Men. Sales of men’s health and beauty merchandise in China are set to overtake North America this year and will probably grow about five times faster until 2014, according to data from Euromonitor International.
“All the major cosmetics companies are focusing on this segment,” said Lynn Zhou, a Shanghai-based retail analyst at CLSA Ltd. “China is starting from a small base; it has huge potential.”
Growing disposable income, fashion magazines such as Chinese editions of Esquire and GQ and the desire to find a competitive edge at work are driving demand for men’s skincare products. Men who use cosmetics are called “Du Shi Yu Nan” or City Jade Men, the local language term that translates to “metrosexuals.”