The Grocer’s 2017 Top Products Survey, THE definitive guide to the current state of the UK’s grocery industry

Male grooming products are looking decidedly unkempt. The market’s major sectors have lost £7.8m, with volumes down in all three.

The decline is down to the market’s alpha brands. P&G’s Gillette has lost £6.5m in razors and shaving preparations. Nivea and L’Oréal’s male offerings have also suffered significant losses. All three brands have seen value fall at a faster rate than volume, as a result of continuing heavy reliance on deals.

The mainstream brands are also losing out to a growing gang of trendier, more premium and distinct brands. One young pup stands out in particular. “Male skincare continues to struggle as beards remain popular,” says Nielsen client manager Ben Hanson. “Bulldog is the only major brand in growth as a result of increased support in the retailers at the expense of all other brands.”

Bulldog has become skincare’s third biggest brand and is now making moves in shaving preps, with sales up 40.4% to £400k, making it the sector’s sixth-biggest. “During a difficult period for the industry, we are having an amazing year overall,” says founder Simon Duffy, who adds that Bulldog still has room for growth. “For retailers where Bulldog’s distribution remains sub-scale, there is still a big missed growth opportunity in men’s skincare that Bulldog could deliver.”

There are plenty of other challengers, says Ben Lambert, co-director at branding agency PB Creative. “We’re hearing how some major players now see niche brands as their main competitors. Bulldog, Percy Nobleman and Johnny’s Chop Shop are gaining traction as men opt for less generic products.”

The implication of this, clearly, is that the big brands lack a certain element of cool for many. Ian Morley, sales director for Gillette brand owner P&G, does concede that the brand has to an extent been a victim of changing fashion. “Men’s definition of clean shaven has changed. It might not necessarily mean shaving every single day, but rather shaving two to three times per week. This, coupled with the change in the way men are buying shavecare products, reinforces the role for Gillette, as category leader, to work with retailers to build category growth.”

Indeed, the growth of shaving subscription brands such as Harry’s (our Top Launch) and Cornerstone means retailers could do with a hand in building category growth.


harrys grooming

Harry’s by Harry’s Grooming

Not all hipsters wear beards. For those who prefer a smooth jawline, there’s online shave club Harry’s, which launched in the UK during the summer from New York. Described by one US magazine as “providing razors to those who enjoy a certain refined, Brooklyn aesthetic”, the brand is a disruptor, poking fun at shaving’s old guard while offering the sort of online subscription model that will very likely be the next major spoiler of sales in the bricks & mortar grocers.

Related files/tables

The Grocer Top Products Survey 2017: Up!