It is getting hairy out there for makers of razors and blades. Quite literally. Proctor & Gamble, makers of the Gillette brand, the leading name in men’s shaving products, is facing falling men’s razor sales, according to Euromonitor. The reason is to do with fashion: More and more men in America and Europe are doing less shaving as stubble and facial hair becomes more popular. Even in India, our Bollywood and cricket stars are sporting more facial hair as in luxurious moustaches a la Shikar Dhawan, Ravindra Jadeja and Ranveer Singh, or facial stubble like Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and M S Dhoni. Even beards have become more fashionable and it has manufacturers scratching their heads, bald or hairy.
For years, the men’s razor has been the object of a supercharged R&D competition, as manufacturers kept adding the number of blades and and other such gimmicks as battery-powered vibrating heads. But recent news suggests that the razor is loosing its shine. Last month, Procter & Gamble, which rules the category with Mach-3-maker Gillette, said its razor sales are falling in major
markets. This followed an announcement by Energizer that unit sales of its Schick men’s razors have dropped 10% in the past year. Euromonitor credits falling sales with: “the vogue for stubble” and a “growing acceptance of the unshaven look in the workplace.” There’s another problem. If markets in the developed world are leading the stubble and beard trend, markets like Asia, mainly
China, will be of little help. Men in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Nepal have relatively little facial hair.
To put it simply, today’s cool dudes with their elaborate moustaches and beards or stubble are killing razor sales. Euromonitor predicts that the ‘hairy’ trend will continue for some years, so for companies involved in male grooming, it’s going to be a close shave.