England's The Grocer magazine reports that seven percent of young men ages 17 to 24 have stopped using deodorant at least once a week and another five percent have stopped washing their hair. "The core driver for using deodorant as part of a routine is getting ready for work. Unemployment removes this," analyst Samuel Hart told The Grocer. Meanwhile, official labor statistics for the United Kingdom list unemployment in May of this year, the most recent record, at 7.8 percent.

A similar study has yet to be conducted in the United States, where the deodorant market is dominated by two companies, according to Euromonitor International. Leading competitor Unilever, with its Degree, Axe, Dove, and Suave brands, accounted for 34-percent retail value share of the market, while runner up Procter & Gamble accounted for 31 percent. In fact, Euromonitor International projects deodorants to reach sales of $3.2 billion by 2017.

Is this a cultural difference? The unemployment rate in the United States, after all, is officially recorded at a level similar to that in England: 7.6 percent.

World Grooming Habits

Before the global recession, a 2007 Nielsen report surveyed 25,408 Internet users in 46 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, and the Middle East on matters of personal grooming. Specifically, respondents were questioned about their purchases of health and beauty products as well as their personal grooming habits.

Roughly 79 percent of all respondents worldwide claimed to purchase health and beauty products, led by the Spanish who overwhelmingly (93 percent) reported purchases of such products. On the other hand, a surprisingly large percentage of the Nordic population — 43 percent of Norwegians, 41 percent of Swedes, and 40 percent of Danes — claimed the opposite: they never bought personal care products.

The survey also found that people invest in personal grooming mostly for their own sense of well-being. This was particularly the case for 73 percent of women as well as for both sexes within the 20-something age group.

Only two in five respondents reported that they spent money on personal grooming products in order to attract a partner.