Razors have long kept men's health and beauty care afloat, but a lack of new product introductions during 2007 has led to lackluster sales compared to the previous year. According the Nielsen Strategic Planner service of the Nielsen Co., Schaumburg, Ill., total razor and razor blade sales were down 3.4% to $390.4 million during the 52 weeks ending Nov. 3, vs. an increase of 1.2% over the $390.4 million in sales in the category for 2006.
“Everybody is saying that 2008 is going to be a great year, with some new stuff,” said Bill Martin, category manager, Valu Merchandisers Co., Kansas City, Kan. “Schick has announced that they are going to add an edging blade to the back of Quattro, but that will just catch them up with the design feature Fusion brought out a while ago. We just have to see what happens in early 2008.”
Indeed, Gillette was first to introduce the single, back-of-the-razor blade for shaving sideburns and shaping facial hair with its Fusion razors in 2005. The precision trimming blade is currently on the manual Gillette Fusion model and the battery-powered Fusion Power Phantom.
“Shaving is such a chore, and there isn't a man alive who's completely happy with his current shaving equipment or products,” said Robert Passikoff, president, Brand Keys, New York. “That's the reason new products are purchased and always will be. Men are holding out the hope that the next thing they try could be better, easier and offer a more comfortable shave.”
Al Jones, senior vice president, procurement and merchandising, Imperial Distributors, Auburn, Mass., hasn't been impressed with razor sales this year either, but he does see disposables gaining momentum.
Disposables from Bic Soleil and Schick Quattro are consumer favorites in stores Imperial merchandises, he said. Both razor models have been upgraded from dual-blade disposables to throwaways with either three or four blades.
According to Nielsen, disposable razor sales increased 0.8% to $218.2 million during the 52 weeks ending Nov. 3.
“Schick fights every day, Bic moves up a little bit, but Fusion is the most popular in our stores,” said Sue Vodika, HBC buyer/category manager, Bashas', Chandler, Ariz.
Any new razor with a new technology should be on a stand-alone display if possible. Retailers should also promote them whenever and wherever they can, said Passikoff.
“There are so many different ways to market and advertise in the retail environment, and retailers should do everything in their power to help boost sales,” he said. “I expect that razors will be flat for a while yet, but men are on an endless quest to find the best shaving equipment, so things will pick up again eventually.”