Disruptors: A Smooth and Precise Cut of US Shaving

September 2018

Shave clubs entered to shake the shaving industry in the US, and challenged leading brands to rethink their strategies. By creating their own loyal and engaged audiences, and by consistently developing strong, one-to-one relationships with consumers, these brands completely changed the marketing scene and developed a whole new way of doing business. By doing so, they proved that even more mature categories can bring growth.

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A changing perceived quality challenges a value-driven industry

Incremental innovation or improving a well-known product/service by adding new features and increasing prices will no longer work on the razors and blades industry. Shave clubs prove that demand is there, but consumers –especially the younger generations – look for a solution, not features, and if anew brand can offer it, they’ll switch. In this scenario, disruptive not incremental innovation will bring growth back.

Consumers have a clearer-than-ever voice when deciding: what to buy, how much to pay, and where to buy

New consumers entering the base pose new challenges to the industry. They value and prioritise different things, prefer brands offering a simple solution in a transparent way, look for brands to be identified with, seek convenience, and rely more than ever on friends, family, and influencers’ recommendations.Shave clubs have the not-easy-to-replicate advantage here, as they have access to invaluable first-party data. This data is the currency in today’s digital world, and the access and further strategy will define winners and losers.

Price and convenience are only small parts of shave clubs’ success

Direct-to-consumers brands and internet retailing in general have been blamed for hurting sales of traditional brands and retailers due to their lower prices and the convenience of home delivery. Yet this premise is far from explaining the reason for their success. These brands changed the marketing scene completely. By creating their own loyal and engaged audience, and by consistently developing strong, one-to-one relationships with their customers,these brands developed a whole new way of doing business, and proved that even, or especially, more mature categories can see growth.


Key findings

Shaving in The US: A Wounded Industry

The perfect storm allowed shaving clubs to succeed in the US
Shaving clubs took a risk by entering a category on the decline

Shaving Clubs’ Success Beyond Price and Convenience: Changing Consumer Base

Consumers, not shaving clubs, are to blame for the decline
Consumer base for shaving has changed and will continue to do so
Direct-to-consumer brands target newer consumer segments

Shaving Clubs' Success Beyond Price and Convenience: Changing Shaving Routines

The beard phantom: are men actually shaving less?
To shave or not to shave, the woman’s dilemma

Shaving Clubs' Success Beyond Price and Convenience: Changing Priorities and Values

Men’s preference for systems paves the path for clubs
Price turned into key purchasing decision factor
Shaving clubs gave consumers brands to identify with

Shaving Clubs' Success Beyond Price and Convenience: Changing Shopping Experience

The shopping experience beyond convenience

Moving Forward

A recipe not easy to replicate
Shaving clubs beyond US men’s razors and blades
Without new strategies the future is not a promising one

Appendix: Competitor Analytics

Competitor Analytics tool
Market Overlap
Overlap Matrices

Appendix: Industry Forecast Model

About Euromonitor International’s Industry Forecast Model
Soft drivers and the Industry Forecast Model
Growth decomposition explained
Significance and applications for growth decomposition
Key applications for Industry Forecast Models

Beauty and Personal Care

This is the aggregation of baby and child-specific products, bath & shower, deodorants, hair care, colour cosmetics, men's grooming, oral hygiene, fragrances, skin care, depilatories and sun care. Black market sales and travel retail are excluded.

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