Men’s changing grooming habits could hold a key to category growth, says Bridgethorne

Nevens: suppliers need to focus on category insights

Nevens: men’s grooming opportunity

A recent report that showed a major decline across Europe in sales of men’s shaving and hair removal products conceals the fact that a decline in one product grouping can represent an opportunity for another.

That’s the view of customer, category and shopper management specialist Bridgethorne reflecting on a report from IRI that revealed sales in shaving and hair removal products were down more than €90m in the year to March 2014. Part of the fall has been attributed to the increasing trend for beards and facial hair championed by celebrities including Leonardo Di Caprio, Ben Affleck and David Beckham.

“The report and the celebrity angle may make a good soundbite but we shouldn’t forget that the market for men’s shaving and grooming was still worth £2.2bn across the EU during this period,” said Bridgethorne co-founder, John Nevens.

“Moreover, nobody can seriously be suggesting that, whilst there is a current trend for facial hair, that categories like shaving foams and gels or razors and blades are in long term or terminal decline. However, one person’s crisis is another person’s opportunity and this current trend presents a growth possibility for niche products in the category like beard oil, beard trimmers and moustache wax.”

Nevens says that suppliers need to be alert to these trends and have plans in place to show retailers how they can help achieve category growth or offset the decline in some category areas by looking at their category through a different lens. He cites personal care brand Remington, which is embracing the trend towards beards with a week-long, six-city “Let It Grow” tour across the USA to capture and highlight the essence of the increasing facial hair trend. Remington, perhaps best known for shavers, will host local beard and moustache events to show support for the facial hair movement and, in so doing, promoting its range of beard trimmers.

Trends like this, says Nevens, are a perfect opportunity for suppliers of relevant products to demonstrate how they can grow a category’s total revenue through alternative category definitions.  Looking at a category based upon shopper need and insight, not just upon what is currently in the market or can be manufactured.

As global experts in the field, Bridgethorne said it works with suppliers to help them achieve this through the expert development of category strategies. These objective visions of long term category growth are a balance of robust insight, strategic intent and, most important, practical application.

“The upshot of this approach will not only be to provide consumers and shoppers with a range of initiatives to suit their needs but it will enhance category longevity, supplier credibility and greater levels of growth for all those who embrace it,” said Nevens.