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Rangkaputi, S 2017, 'Male image, masculinity and consumer behaviour related to cosmetic products: a study of Thai men in Bankok City', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright S Rangkaputi 2017


Males are increasingly consuming cosmetic products and thus, are of growing interest to marketers around the world. However, the consumption of cosmetic products by Asian males, in particular those in Thailand, is not well understood. Further, the interplay among multiple theories pertinent to male cosmetic product consumption - masculinity, self-concept and self-image – has not been studied to date.

Thus, the main purpose of this research is to address the question: “What is the perception of Thai male consumers on their purchasing decisions of cosmetic products and how do male’s concepts of masculinity and the importance of self-image and their appearance influence the consumption of male cosmetic products in Thailand?”

This thesis reviews scholarly literature about the cosmetic industry and the male cosmetic market, as well as on theories of masculinity, self-concept and self-image. Drawing on consumer decision making theory, a conceptual framework is developed, which addresses the research question in terms of the first four stages of the five-stage consumer decision making model: need recognition (specifically key internal and external factors influencing need recognition); information search; evaluation of alternatives; and purchasing process.

Qualitative methodology was used to address the research question. Data were collected from semi-structured in-depth interviews with fifty-one Thai males in Bangkok. The sample was grouped according to place of origin (Bangkok or other) and career position (managerial or non-managerial).

The findings reveal that male cosmetic advertising plays a more significant role in influencing Thai male consumers’ cosmetic product decisions than sales promotion campaigns and the efforts of salespeople, also they tend to be more quality-than price-conscious.

With regard to the acceptance of Thai society of the consumption of male cosmetic products, the results of this research clearly showed that not only is consuming cosmetic products among Thai males in Bangkok acceptable, but the consumption of such products is growing in importance, particularly for professional males who live in urban areas. The most important images of masculinity identified by the participants were success, self-confidence, leadership, responsibility for the family, and the denial of aggressive and violent behaviours.

The research indicates that urban Thai males are very concerned with their appearance and self-image. External factors contributing to this concern are: societal expectations for a positive first impression; the demand for societal conformity; and high competitiveness in the workplace, particularly in an urban area like Bangkok.