May 22, 2008 09:18
Marketers have found a new target: single, professional men aged between 36 and 42 who are graduates of prestigious universities and earn an average of W70 million a year (US$1=W1,042). These determined bachelors are seen as a prime marketing target by the makers of consumer goods.
These men are not ashamed to buy cosmetics -- and not just a bottle of aftershave, but also functional products like eye cream, whitening care, cleansing foam and even botox cream. Cosmetics brand Biotherm has seen its whitening and essence products for men sell out earlier than expected, and the same goes for Amore Pacific's male cosmetics line, Hera Homme, which is promoted by actor Jang Dong-kun.
The Hera Homme protection lip balm sold out as soon as it arrived in the market, and the company had to scramble to produce more. An Amore Pacific spokesman says men in their 20s usually purchase only basic care products. But older single men with spending money seek out functional products, and they are emerging as the most influential consumer group for men's cosmetics.
A growing number of men are seeking treatment at skin clinics to look younger. Plastic surgeon Seo Jae-don said, "In the past, a few men had surgery for a better nose and double eyelids. But now, many men in their mid and late 30s regularly visit clinics to get laser treatment for better skin."
Department stores set up fashion and accessories sections targeting men in the age bracket. One high-end watch shop in a department store targeting single men in their late 30s records sales of more than W100 million a month. Some department stores now have a special lounge for such new customers equipped with a DVD player and an Internet connection.
These men are VIPs to consumer goods makers, but for dating agencies, they are a headache. Lee Woong-jin, founder and CEO of Sunoo, the professional matchmaking agency, says many single men in their late 30s have dated so many women they think they know everything about them and want a perfect woman. So voluntarily or involuntarily, they will stay single. Lee said many of these men notice only the flaws in their dates, rather than looking for their virtues.
Some put the top priority on a woman's looks, while others want to climb the social ladder through marriage even though they have the ability to achieve success by themselves.
Psychiatrist Park Jin-seng says older single men appear emotionally immature. They have been taught to pursue only success and achievement, but they also appear to have the sense of inferiority or deficiency which they want to hide, so they try to compensate through women. Therefore many are skeptical about marriage or become habitual womanizers. "They refuse to get married and settle down since they don't want to take serious responsibility for life, although they are old enough," Park said.
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