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Retailers, brands sharpen shaving product selection
The recent legal skirmish between Gillette and Dollar Shave Club underscores just how important the shave category is to drug store retailers.
(Click here to view the full Category Review.)
It is behemoth with sales exceeding $3.5 billion when combining aftershaves, lotions, shaving creams and blades. But it also brings customers into the store on a frequent basis and is the cornerstone of the entire men’s grooming department. According to NPD, more than half of the male population use shaving products.
And that’s why retailers don’t want to see the category siphoned off by the Internet. It is the reason Gillette filed the lawsuit late last year against Dollar Shave Club over a patent. Most recently, Dollar Shave Club fired back with a counterclaim.
While Gillette and Dollar Shave duke it out, retailers and brands are sharpening the product selection.
The first move is creating a more male-friendly grooming area within the store. That was one of the biggest initiatives as part of Rite Aid’s newer formats, according to Bill Bergin, group VP of category management. While it was conventional wisdom that women purchased most of men’s items, Bergin said that’s changed, and the store has to reflect that trend.
Walgreens also is tweaking its stores to appeal to men, especially as it rolls out more of its Boots No7 men’s items. Men, reasoned Rudy Kucera, Walgreens’ divisional merchandise manager, are getting into regimens, including pre-shave items. That’s prompted new merchandising approaches, including open sell fixtures rather than keeping shaving products in locked displays. Part of the shaving department overhaul includes appealing to the millennial consumers who hold so much of the spending power and, according to NPD, are most likely to try and invest in new items. Admittedly, many of these consumers are still favoring more facial hair. But even “three days of beard growth,” requires some level of trimming and upkeep, Kucera said.
Mary-Ellen Lacasse, the director for the shaver market at BIC Consumer Products USA agreed. “Even the bushiest beard needs upkeep. Men with beards should still have a quality razor,” she said. She said the BIC Flex 5 was created with the popularity of beards in mind.
Other leading shave brands also are delivering more meaningful products designed around shaving habits rather than just “slapping on another blade,” buyers said.
An example is Schick’s new patented technology designed to protect skin from irritation. The new Hydro 5 razor has a hydrating gel reservoir that the company said delivers 40% less friction than a traditional lupe strip. “Most guys we talked to really just wanted a razor that could better protect them from daily shave irritation and offer them a more comfortable shave,” said Anastasia Tobias, Schick Hydro senior brand manager, at Edgewell Personal Care.