When Dollar Shave Club and Harry’s launched in 2012 and 2013, they were regarded as something to sneeze at in comparison to the razor industry’s $3.7 duopoly controlled by Gillette (65%) and Schick. However, the tables are beginning to turn. Online sales of razors grew to $189 million in 2014 from $111 million in 2013, and were reported to be $141 million in the first five months of 2015. Online sales accounted for 8% (high for a CPG product) of all razor sales in the 12 months leading up to May, revealing an appetite for digitally savvy razor brands that would sell directly and conveniently to consumers.
At the same time, DTC razor and shaving product companies have attracted large investments to fuel their growth. In June, Dollar Shave Club raised $75 million in a series round. A month later, Harry’s raised $75.6 million in a series C round in July, valuing the company at $750 million. No longer ignoring the competitors, Gillette launched Gillette Shave Club in early 2015 with a site (GilletteShaveClub.com) layout that mimics its competitors.
However, a comparison of site traffic is the clearest display of the threat these new companies pose. Gillette.com traffic has declined 65% year on year, while traffic to dollarshaveclub.com is up 59%. And whether GilletteShaveClub.com has a chance at swatting off its competitors, this graph from L2’s 2015 Digital IQ Index: Personal Care can be the judge: