Wilkinson Sword set for major gel launch

Wilkinson Sword is preparing the European launch of a non-foaming shaving brand, called Activ Gel, that will see the company shift its focus to the £52.5m UK shaving preparations market.

The company’s market share in this sector has slipped to about one per cent, while rival Gillette’s share has grown to almost 60 per cent.

Industry sources say Wilkinson Sword’s weakness in shaving preparations has hindered its efforts to establish itself in the wider shaving market with the four-bladed Quattro razor.

Earlier this year, the company formed a marketing joint venture that saw its razors sold with King of Shaves gels (MW May 20). A source says this deal was seen as a short-term solution until the company could bolster its own gel range.

Activ Gel is a non-foaming gel that will be positioned against similar products from King of Shaves. Sources say it will appeal to men with facial hair who want to see their face when they shave, in order to style their beards. Wilkinson Sword has already launched the brand in France and has agreed to sell Activ Gel exclusively through Boots in the UK. The brand will roll out at the same time as the company’s latest Quattro variant, Midnight, which will be backed by a £3m television ad campaign, breaking next month.

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