A Hairy Situation

The U.S. shaving care market currently faces a number of challenges to growth, notes global market research firm Mintel in its September “Shaving and Hair Removal Products — US” report. Age, ethnicity, gender, employment, and even marital status all play a significant role in shaping the shaver’s approach to the category. This reality, coupled with a desire to spend less money in the category, is attracting many consumers to the lowest-cost and lowest-commitment option — disposable razors.

As consumers have been trading down from more expensive cartridge systems to less expensive disposable razors, aggregate spending in the category has fallen, Mintel notes.

“Category sales will be boosted by a return to growth among cartridge systems and, in turn, replacement cartridges, as the average retail sales price for these items begin to fall as more time elapses since new product launches,” Mintel says.

Trends with traction

But today’s store brands are on trend when it comes to consumers’ desire for value.

“Store brand growth will continue and is the next frontier in private label share growth, particularly the growth of underdeveloped store brand razors and refills offering quality and value,” says Paul Guippone, senior manager, category development and shopper insights for Energizer Personal Care, Private Brands Group — part of St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc.

He notes that Energizer has enhanced the quality of its razors for store brand programs over the last few years.

“Now the category’s biggest challenge is increasing awareness and generating trial for store brand razors and blades,” Guippone says. “We have seen that once consumers try store brand razors, they have a high level of satisfaction and future purchase intent — 73 percent — levels similar to what you see with strong national brands.”

Trends on the horizon

To foster category growth on the premium side of shaving care, marketers will need to think in terms of value — launching compelling product innovations that are worth the premium price, Mintel says. At the same time, the growing threat of competition from professional hair removal services could be countered by introducing more appealing versions of hair removal products that instill more confidence in at-home hair removal.

And for their store brand razors and refills, retailers will need to consider the changes that will continue to take place in the consumer base in the years to come, Guippone suggests.

“Changing consumer habits and shifting demographics are something that savvy marketers in this category need to stay on top of,” he says, “such as millennials’ shaving habits, the aging population and growth of the Hispanic market. This category needs to be consumer-centric moving forward in order to thrive.”