retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Boston Globe magazine section has a fascinating story about Procter & Gamble-owned Gillette, which "for more than a century ... has been the standard-bearer in things that scrape away men’s whiskers," earning the brand a 70 percent market share in the US for razors and blades.

But these days, not so much.

"Now Gillette is in a domestic scuffle over men’s stubble. New brands like Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s have gained millions of customers by selling no-frills razors at a discount, shipping them to customers’ doors instead of Walmart’s shelves, and undercutting what they’ve framed as Gillette’s wallet-emptying razor-industrial complex. And Gillette has suffered nicks and cuts: By 2016, its share of the $2.6 billion US market dipped to 54 percent.

"The same year, Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club’s combined piece of the pie grew to 12.2 percent. Meanwhile, Schick — Gillette’s long-time also-ran (Schick’s market share is also down, to 15 percent) — just launched discount blades that fit Gillette’s Mach3 and Fusion5 handles."

And, the Globe writes, "the forces underlying this upheaval have implications across the consumer packaged-goods business, a trillion-dollar industry encompassing everything from toothbrushes to cosmetics to clothes, and Gillette is hitting back on all fronts."

The details of the battle, and a fascinating portrait of the various players and their strategies, can be seen here.
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