So, with more of my beard turning a shade of platinum, I am now a close-shave guy.
I admit to being sucked in by shaving technology with my current razor being a Gillette Mac III supreme/extreme/whatever. I have stayed relatively loyal (or lazy, however you like to view it) to Gillette , however I have been genuinely impressed with the aggressive marketing campaigns launched by Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club, which between them shaved 10% off the market share held by the two dominant forces, Gillette and Schick.
It is Gillette’s reaction to this that now piques my interest. Gillette’s US market share has dropped around 20% in the last 5-10 years and it is reported that the company dropped its prices by around 12% last year. A price war clearly did not appeal to Gillette and so rather than defend their market share at the bottom end of the market, they did what Gillette is known for – they innovated!
They launched a first-to-market patent-backed heated razor that provides us gents with the feeling of a hot shave. Rather than messing about with squeezed margins at the bottom of the market they leveraged their significant brand power to launch a premium-priced razor, which retails at $200. In addition, they cleverly launched it from a separate start-up they call GilletteLabs, highlighting the cutting-edge technology (pardon the pun). They launched it on a crowdfunding platform called IndideGoGo designed to “crowdfund innovations and support entrepreneurs” perhaps to break from the conventions and Gillette’s market leading position in their well-established industry.
Reuters predict that the Men’s Grooming Product Market will grow by more than 5% between 2018-2023 and I read in the US alone, men’s shaving is a $3bn dollar industry. It seems that Gillette are positioning themselves at the luxury end of the shaving market, relying on their considerable brand power, technology and key market relationships (product placement in Art of Shaving) to innovate and break free from the ‘price and value driven’ end of the market.
Am I likely to fork out $200 for my next blade? I stroke my 4pm stubble in contemplation!