(Photo Credit: D Services/Flickr)
A recent post on Jezebel drew our attention to the crisis facing razor companies like Gillette. And while of course it's impossible to say that the decline of one industry is responsible for our individual financial fortunes, it's interesting to look at the relationship between shaving and the economy.
"Men's shaving has been going through a rough time," writes Nicole Tyrimou at Euromontior. "Despite healthy growth of 6 percent in 2012, the men's toiletries category has been catching up, and in 2013 the two categories will be equal in size, with men's shaving expected to lose its dominance in men's grooming for the first time ever. Razors and blades account for over 70 percent of men's shaving sales, so largely determine the category's vitality."
What's to blame for this decline in razor sales? In short, the fact that it's cool to have a beard now, even at work, in many offices across the world. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the unemployed are less likely to shave every day.
Manufacturers are partly responsible. Razors have increased in cost by as much as 99 percent over the past three years. And then there's the fact that Gilette, whose parent company Proctor & Gamble pretty much dominates the razor market, has only cranked out three new products since 2005, giving innovation-hungry consumers fewer things to spend their money on, were they inclined or able to do so.
Tyrimou ties the lower rate of product launches to P&G's financial troubles, but you also have to wonder if they're just running out of ideas. After all, how many blades and moisturizing strips can you add to a single razor? She sees a possibility for companies to branch out into beard-related products, like colorants and conditioners, which could help shore up the market, if the fashion pendulum doesn't swing back to the clean-shaven look first.
In the meantime, stroke your beard thoughtfully and ponder its relationship to your own bottom line.
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