Is Kenya a Bearded Market?

November 19, 2013
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Procter & Gamble Communications Manager Ms. Irene Mwathi (l) together with Mr. Mutune Kilonzo unveil the Gillette range of male and female shavers and razor to the East African market
Procter & Gamble Communications Manager Ms. Irene Mwathi (l) together with Mr. Mutune Kilonzo unveil the Gillette range of male and female shavers and razor to the East African market

, The Kenyan shaving market is still in its infancy stages with only 40 percent of Kenyan men shaving at home with the rest preferring to visit the barber shops who utilize electric shavers.

The market which has over 10 million potential razor users sees a man spend on average Ksh2295 per month and a woman spends Ksh1200 on blades and razors over a similar period.

Gillette brand manager, Mr. Mutune Kilonzo said that despite the steady growth in the grooming market, the greatest challenge the Gillette brand has been facing is in trading up consumers to the more premium and better performing brands.

Today, Gillette which commands about 60 percent of the market, attributes its leadership position to its constant innovation that sees the brand implementing consumers’ positive criticism.

“The main challenge that sees us constantly innovate is the African hair gene. As African men, we are particularly susceptible to bumps due to the coarse, curly nature of our facial hair. Our research has however shown that one can reduce the occurrence of bumps by shaving more often, using new blades, using superior blades, and of course prepping oneself before a shave,” said Mr. Mutune.

Mr. Mutune added that once consumers understood the art of shaving, the market is bound to experience a steady growth.

The global blade and razor industry (male and female blades and razors) is currently valued as a $12.3 billion business with 800 million men shaving.

Mr. Mutune was speaking during the unveiling of the Gillette brand of male and female razors and blades into the Kenyan market.  The brand unveiled into the market its five blade Fusion to compete with Mach 3, a three-blade range in a bid to upgrade existing consumers to the premium product. The move to bring Fusion into the market was guided by consumers request for a product that offered a smoother and clear look with less skin irritation which is a great inhibitor to blades purchase.

“What we have done is to continue to introduce better quality products in the markets at different price ranges for our consumers. Our research has shown that our loyal consumer is more likely to try out a new razor which offers something more than the one he currently uses,” said Mutune.

Best known for its slogan, “The Best a Man can Get”, Gillette is seeking to maintain its market leadership by offering consumers a larger variety in order to maximize its the category sales.

“The strategy that the brand is employing is to trade up consumers from using our disposable such as Blue 3 to using our systems such as Mach 3 to give them a better shaving experience but is also cost effective in the long run,” said Mr. Mutune.

Mr. Mutune added that P&G spends over 2 billion on research and development which is paramount to Gillette as the brand believes that once the consumer experiences the products superior quality they will be willing to pay a high price for it.

However, the brand still faces challenges in the market from consumers who are price sensitive settling for low priced locally available blades and those who still prefer the traditional methods of hair grooming.

Since its acquisition by Procter & Gamble in 2005, the 112 year old brand has seen itself rise to become its own competition in a market where the demand for hair grooming accessories is growing yet the supply of quality products is low. In addition, the conversion ratio of consumers who prefer modern methods such as non-disposal and electric shavers to traditional methods such as razors blades is marginally increasing. However, this has not stopped Gillette which has the major share in the market from planning to expand further to capture more share and push volumes.

Gillette is joining CapitalFM this November and December as we create awareness about Prostrate Cancer through the #GrowYourBeard Campaign.

Grow your beard

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