Women’s Wear Daily reported late last week that men’s luxury skin care sales have been in a steady decline since the first of the year.  The record growth they experienced in 2004 and 2005 has given way to a disappointing 2006, and retailers are hoping that the Christmas holiday season will give a big boost to the bottom line.

Now who’s surprised by this?  Certainly not me.

Yes, there are lots of men who spend a great deal of time on their appearance and have high standards of dress and grooming.  But that’s not the average guy.  Give the average Joe a choice between dropping $50 on skin care or the same amount on some gizmo, gadget, or sporting event ticket, and he’ll go for the gizmo.  That’s a given.

Ever been to historical collections of clothing?  Generally, you’ll find lots of women’s clothing — but very few men’s wear.  Why?  Because women have always had a tendency to carefully archive their special occasion apparel, whereas men tend to wear clothes until they fall apart and then they throw them away.

This whole decline in luxury skin care for men follows this pattern.  When it first came out, it was a new gizmo.  Guys liked that there were moisturizers and other products that smelled masculine and made their skin feel good.  But their interest has waned and now they’re on to something else.  Women will stick with their favorite products through thick and thin, but men — well, find something new to give them and they might come back…

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