Beards Are Such A Trend, Shaving Companies Are Losing Serious Money
Just this week, Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest company of consumer goods, reported their first quarter earnings. While it certainly beat expectations and saw the majority of its stock soar to a record high, what attracted most attention was the $5.24 billion loss.
P&G reported an after-tax charge of $8 billion on its Gillette Shave Care line, reflecting an accumulated currency devaluation since it acquired the business. And the reason for this struggle of Gillette – world-renowned shaving business: men are ditching razors in favour of the beard.
Jon Moeller, P&G’s chief financial officer, said in the post-earnings call with analysts: “Lower shaving frequency has reduced the size of the developed blades and razor’s market.”
You don’t need us to tell you beards are in. Where it used to be the case that the clean-shaven, manicured man was the trend du jour, it’s since been replaced by the rather unkempt, bearded man sporting a style that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Vikings. You only need to take a walk down your local neighbourhood – or any street for that matter – to see just how pervasive the beard trend really is. So much so, we can only question: have we reached peak beard yet?
In a study titled Beards and the Big City, researchers found that beards are more common in cities with larger populations, where there’s often more competition for jobs and mates.
Barnaby Dixson, study co-author and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Queensland, explained the significance of beards: “A beard is a social amplifier of masculinity within the context of a crowded environment where you’re trying to get ahead.”
This coincides with the belief that the trend began in 2007, around the time of the global financial crisis. Beards served as an advantage for men who believed it gave them a leg-up to their contemporaries when it came to finding a job in the precarious market. In the years since, workplaces have become more casual and embraced the laidback look, something which has certainly benefitted men sporting facial hair.
Reports from the US have found that demand for shaving products in the men’s market has decreased by 11 per cent, with the razors and blades market dropping in worth from $2.4 billion in 2015 to $2.2 billion in 2018, according to data from Euromonitor.
And as for how it’s perceived by potential partners? Well, women don’t seem to have any qualms. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology found that women find men with facial hair more attractive than those without. The strongest preference was for men with heavy stubble, followed by light stubble and full beards. Unfortunately, the clean-shaven folks out there ranked lowest on the sexy scale.
With no signs of slowing down, it seems like the beard trend really is here to stay. And as men continue to ditch their razors in favour of sprouting some hair on their face, unfortunately it just so happens that those companies who make their money off razors and shaving products are going to suffer.