Men shave the equivalent of a football pitch every 18 months, if Braun is to be believed, so it’s no wonder shaving is such an important category.
TNS puts the razor blade market at £185m with growth of 10.2% year-on-year [52 w/e May 22, 2005] driven by product development from the main players Gillette and Wilkinson Sword.
Indeed, men’s shaving is one of the most innovative of any non-food categories, with a whole raft of brands launching ‘world firsts’ on to the market each year offering consumers more blades, more comfort and closer shaves.
Gillette scored a first in 2004 with its M3Power razor, the first battery-powered disposable razor that used electric pulses to combine the performance of an electric blade with the closeness of a disposable razor.
This year Gillette added a neon version M3Power Nitro to the range and Mach3 Nitro Gel shave gel to further encourage consumers to trade up to premium-priced products.
“The shaving market is exploding with constant new product development from brands competing to stand out,” says Steve Newton, senior business manager for male blades and razors at Gillette. “The M3Power Nitro targets the technologically savvy 16 to 34-year-old male and guarantees strong on-shelf presence within stores.”
Wilkinson Sword’s own world first is Quattro, a four-blade razor designed to offer a much closer shave than its three-blade rivals.
“Innovation is the lifeblood of the category,” says Julian Williams, channel marketing director at Wilkinson Sword.
"Ever-changing consumer needs provide the stimulus for innovation. Gone are the days when male grooming meant a quick shave and a splash of Old Spice. Men today are far more discerning when it comes to personal grooming and are not ashamed to talk about their upweighted grooming regime. This has stimulated growth in razor products.”
BIC is another company that continues to innovate to stay at the front of the pack.
It has just launched Comfort 3 Pivot, a disposable shaver that uses three-blade technology and has a pivotal head for greater shaving ease.
Innovation is not just taking place in the field of disposable razors. The electric razor category is also at the cutting edge of technology.
Braun has launched what it says is the world’s first 360 degree shaver in the form of its 360 degree Complete.
The razor includes a smart foil to capture hairs growing in any direction and a powercomb, which gently raises hairs that lie flat against the skin.