I have bought a Gillette razor and blades for as long as I can remember. And I am certainly not alone. Every couple of years I will change from a four blade model to the latest five blade version with a rotating head and feel little difference. At last, there are viable alternatives.
Dollar Shave Club and Harry's in the US/beyond and now Cornerstone in the UK are growing, all using social media and first order promotions to recruit consumers. The brands look sharp, packaging looks nice and they are delivered straight to your door on a cost effective basis. But do the razors really work and is the service strong enough for consumers to commit to the subscription beyond the initial promotional period? Harry's has recently invested $100m in its own razor manufacturing facility and managing this supply chain may be the best way to compete with P&G / Gillette in the long term. Unilever has made a $1bn bet (at >5x sales) that Dollar Shave Club can continue to disrupt the category; now who will be the next target and how large a consumer base do they require to entice another beauty major? If growth continues it can only be so long before the likes of Beiersdorf, L'Oréal and Edgewell are tempted, and P&G considers its options in the context of anti-trust restrictions.
Cornerstone: The shaving subscription service aiming to 'destroy the men's aisle at Boots'