Gillette to ‘drive harder’ against hipster-led shaving decline

Gillette says it is seeing evidence of a reversal in the current shaving decline, which it claims is led by the ‘temporary’ popularity of ‘fashionable beards,’ as it prepares to reach 85% of UK males with the release of its new FlexBall razor.

Although admitting that people are shaving less in the UK, the shaving brand, owned by Procter and Gamble, says the male razor segment is up 17% on a unit volume basis over the last six months in the US. Gillette’s razor volume share, meanwhile, was up 7% for its second financial quarter ending 31 December. It now anticipates the UK market to start to return to growth as well.

“Trends and fashions, like the movement we’ve seen towards fashionable facial hair and beards, aren’t new for us and are – by their very nature – temporary,” says Ian Morley, grooming commercial director at P&G.

“But we have to react to them. People are shaving less and of course this is an issue but we can either sit back or drive harder, we have chosen the latter.”

Television adverts for the FlexBall razor, which combines the Gillette’s Fusion ProGlide blade with FlexBall technology that allows the razor to pivot in multiple directions, will air from 17 February. Gillette will also update its Soccer Saturday partnership with Sky to reflect the new product’s branding.

There will also be homepage takeovers of the Daily Mail Online and Yahoo – two websites that Gillette identifies as ‘the biggest male-dominated websites’ – while the shaving brand claims it will reach 90% of UK males through Facebook.

Morley is confident the product, which retails up to £15 and has already launched to ‘success’ in the US, will drive growth towards the UK’s flagging shaving category, and says the marketing will target younger males looking to shave for the first time.

“We’re aiming to sell 3 million of the new Flexball handles in year one and this innovative product launch is a big part of our plans for 2015,” he added.

“We’ve already provided a product specifically for men who are looking to groom and style facial hair (ProGlide Styler) and we’re now bringing new innovation for the millions of men who still choose to clean shave with the FlexBall.”


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