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New products cause recent growth

BY Antoinette Alexander

Despite an economic improvement, consumer optimism still leaves something to be desired, and wallets remain close to the vest. This has impacted the often-pricey shave segment, but manufacturers are eagerly turning to value and innovation to spur growth.

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According to the most recent data provided by IRI, sales of razors were down slightly — 0.2% — for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 10 at U.S. multi-outlets. However, a look at the most recent 12-week data paints a different picture, with sales rising about 11.6%, suggesting that manufacturers’ efforts are taking hold.

Demonstrating that consumers are seeking value, Energizer Holdings’ Schick brand reports seeing success with its competitively priced Hydro razors.

“When you come out with a product like Hydro, it’s not only very efficacious, but a great value. I think it is in the sweet spot for where a lot of consumers are right now,” Energizer Holdings’ CEO Ward Klein told analysts during the company’s third-quarter earnings call in late July.

He noted that, during the quarter, Hydro’s share of men’s systems achieved its highest quarterly share ever of 9.8%, up 1 point versus the year-ago period. Furthermore, the newly launched Hydro Sensitive and Hydro Groomer drove incremental sales in consumption.

Meanwhile, rival Gillette has set its sights on innovation with the newly launched Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall technology.

With trial coming from across the category — including 25% from disposable users — the new FlexBall razor is causing a stir.

“While it’s only been available for two months, we’ve see an improvement in the U.S. blades and razors market growth, including more than a 30% spike in razor sales, and have seen sequential improvement in our shares with Gillette earning nearly 75% of U.S. razor sales and nearly 90% of cartridge sales in the month of July,” Jon Moeller, P&G CFO, told analysts during the Barclays 2014 Back-to-School Consumer Conference held in early September.

With the razor segment enjoying a recent upswing in sales, expect to see companies continue to focus on delivering not only innovative products, but also ones that offer a great value.

 

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