Market slowdown could see rivals shave Gillette’s share with grooming innovation

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

- Last updated on GMT

Market slowdown could see rivals shave Gillette’s share with grooming innovation

Related tags: Gillette, Procter & gamble, Innovation

As men’s toiletries catches up and looks to overtake the shaving category this could open up new opportunities to manufacturers to provide innovative products and challenge Gillette for the top spot.

Since being bought by Procter & Gamble in 2005, Gillette has been streets ahead of everyone else in the sector and holds a 60 percent share in the market.

Men’s shaving posted healthy growth of 6 percent in 2012; however Euromonitor predicted that skin care and deodorants would help the men’s toiletries category​ catch up and equal it this year, before shaving loses its dominance in men’s grooming for the first time ever.

Razors and blades account for over 70 percent of men’s shaving sales, so largely determine the category’s vitality.

Rock the boat

According to Euromonitor Beauty and Personal Care research analyst Nicole Tyrimou, this shift now means that multi-function and product innovation is key and could provide the opportunity for other manufacturers to muscle in on Gillette’s turf.

“While Gillette has been sitting comfortably at the top of the global rankings, competition has been heating up below, with Bic enjoying double-digit increases in the US while holding on in Western Europe where Gillette has been losing share to private label and electric shavers,”​ she says.

Tyrimou puts this down to brands like Bic stepping up their level of innovation to bring it into direct competition with Gillette and Schick, while at the same time employing engaging marketing campaigns and slogans that have been a hit with consumers.

There is also the recent trend favoring the unshaven look which the market expert believes is opening up new opportunities for innovation, such as male-specific products ranging from manual/battery-operated trimmers to products which nourish and smooth facial hair.

New era?

Gillette have not been exempt from product innovation and striving to extend its market share, having used this recent trend as the basis for the launch of its Fusion ProGlide Styler, a 3-in-1 battery-operated razor which serves as both a shaver and styler: its first major innovation in two years.

“This indicates a new era in men’s shaving, with razor manufacturers creating more sophisticated multi-functional products with higher unit prices in an effort to compensate for lower demand and longer repurchasing cycles,”​ says Tyrimou with reference to the fact that the actions of Gillette as the market giant, affect everyone else’s activities.

The Euromonitor analyst also explains, however, that Gillette’s lack of new innovation over the last few years may also indicate that P&G’s financial issues have affected its R&D activities.

“The desire for an unshaven look is expected to continue, especially in Western Europe,”​ adds Tyrimou. “However, the biggest concern for men’s shaving companies will be if this trend catches on in Latin America.”

“Over the very long term, however, as with every trend, the wheel will turn and suddenly the fashion will be passé!”

Related topics: Market Trends, Skin Care

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