Cosmetic brands in APAC using male celebrities to break gender stereotypes, says GlobalData

With the issue of gender equality becoming more prominent, consumers are increasingly defying traditional gender stereotypes, resulting in growing fluidity between typical gender behaviors and definitions. Against this backdrop, brands in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region have started to leverage male celebrities as influencers to create brand appeal among the millennials, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Shagun Sachdeva, Consumer Insights Analyst at GlobalData says: “The use of male celebrities endorsing cosmetics products is changing the way men view beauty and grooming products in the APAC.

“Brands already understand that challenging gender stereotypes and adopting a gender-neutral approach will have a great impact in the process of products’ promotion. However, it is expected gender-specific products will continue to play an important role on retailers’ shelves, especially the ones that offer functional properties.”

GlobalData 2018 Q4 Consumer survey reveals that 71% of females in APAC are influenced by the ‘personalization’ factor of the product while 64% males are influenced by how well the product/service is tailored to their needs and personality.

According to GlobalData, the Chinese beauty industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets in the world, accounting for 15% share of value sales of the global cosmetics and toiletries sector in 2018.

Sachdeva adds: “International luxury brands, which are targeting younger generation, are queuing up to capture a slice of this lucrative market, where the affluent middle-class customers are buying more beauty products, including premium foreign goods, driven by their rising disposable incomes and social aspirations.”

For instance, Guerlain in China has refreshed its image from that of an old-generation luxury brand to a brand for younger people by using a male celebrity to endorse women-centric products. Guerlain exploited a trend called Xiao Xian Rou wherein youthful male celebrities are gaining popularity among women.

Sachdeva continues: “The growing acceptance of softer male persona in Chinese popular culture, which was hitherto dominated by patriarchal macho males, reflects the changing socio-cultural attitudes and blurring gender boundaries among the millennials.”

Skin care brand Asarai Australia does not follow a conventional marketing strategy. Instead of promoting its products to both men and women, it encourages the consumers to cross gender boundaries through its gender-neutral promotional approach.

Sachdeva concludes: “Societal shifts, digital empowerment, desire for equality and personalization are shaping up this trend. Increasing number of women entering the workforce and growing acceptance of males as stay-at-home dads are breaking down gender stereotypes, fueling demand for the discontinuation of advertisements and products that perpetuate gender roles.”

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