For years the men’s razor has been the object of a supercharged R&D arms race, as manufacturers kept piling on the number of blades and adding such questionable gimmicks as vibrators. But recent news suggests that the expensive razor is beginning to look more like a humble commodity.
This morning Procter & Gamble (PG), which rules the category with Mach-3-maker Gillette, said its razor sales are falling in developed markets. This followed yesterday’s announcement by Energizer (ENR) that unit sales of its Schick men’s razors have dropped 10 percent in the past year-a literal decimation.
Energizer blames the sales slide on aggressive promotions, specifically P&G’s. Meanwhile, P&G focused on its gains abroad and glossed over its losses in major markets. Euromonitor points to another culprit: “the vogue for stubble” and a “growing acceptance of the unshaven look in the workplace.” In other words: hairy dudes. And this is one market where China may not save the day; Euromonitor claims Chinese men are relatively “nonhairy.”
Read more at Business Week.