Gillette is the core brand within Procter & Gamble's grooming business unit. It has long reigned as the world's biggest shaving and razor business, with what is still around 60% share of the global market, and a dominant position in both the men's and women's segments. Yet the brand has been under intense pressure since the end of the 1990s, especially in the US, first from difficult economic conditions, later as a result of increased competition from arch-rival Schick Wilkinson Sword (now owned by Edgewell Personal Care), more recently from lower-priced rivals, especially Dollar Shave Club (now owned by Unilever) and Harry's, and from a changing market where daily facial shaving is considered less important than it once was. The fashion for beards began well before pandemic lockdowns made daily shaving even less necessary. All of these competitive factors have put relentless pressure on performance, on prices and especially on profits. In 2020, US market share was quoted at around 50%, down from highs of 70% in its heyday in 2010. Revenues from what is now P&G's Grooming division have been falling steadily since 2012, from $8bn that year to $6.1bn for the year ending Jun 2020. In 2019, P&G pushed through a massive $8bn impairment against the business, suggesting that the group foresaw no turnaround any time soon. Nevertheless, there was a welcome upturn in ye 2021, the first for several years, as net revenues rebounded to $6.4bn, with net earnings of $1.7bn. Gary Coombe took over as divisional CEO of P&G Grooming in 2018. In addition to the Gillette, Venus and Braun brands, the division manages retail brand The Art of Shaving and a small collection of Gillette-branded toiletries. King C Gillette - named after the man who invented the safety razor in 1901 - is a line of premium grooming toletries launched in 2020. Environmentally friendly blades and toiletries brand Planet KIND was launched in 2021. However an attempt to buy mid-tier women's blades and razors business Billie was blocked by the FTC. Gillette joined the P&G portfolio in 2005, along with subsidiary brands such as Braun electric shavers and Oral-B oral care products. (Another part of the former Gillette Inc portfolio, Duracell batteries, has since been sold). Gillette sub-brands such as Gillette Fusion and Venus for women are billion-dollar brands in their own right.
Capsule checked 29th March 2021
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Who are the competitors of Gillette? Gillette's main competitors are Edgewell Personal Care, which owns Schick/Wilkinson Sword and now Harry's, Bic and Spectrum Brands, which owns Remington shavers (and Rayovac and Varta batteries), and Unilever's Dollar Shave Club. See Personal Care Sector. Also Best Global Brands ranking
Historical profile information for Gillette
Adbrands Daily Update 6th Jan 2021: Almost exactly a year after it was announced, P&G cancelled plans to acquire DTC women's razor marketer Billie in response to objections from the FTC, which said the takeover would stifle competition and give P&G an unfair advantage. "After due consideration," the two companies said in a joint statement, "we have mutually agreed that it is in both companies' best interests not to engage in a prolonged legal challenge, but instead to terminate our agreement and refocus our resources on other business priorities." During 2020, the FTC also blocked the acquisition of men's razor brand Harrys by Schick owner Edgewell, citing similar concerns.
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Jan 2020: In its latest niche acquisition, P&G agreed to acquire Billie, a US-based subscription-based D2C business that makes a range of premium female shaving and bodycare products. Billie will continue to be led by its co-founders, Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman. The business will slot into P&G's grooming division alongsode female-focused Venus shavers. No price was disclosed.
Adbrands Social Media 15th Jan 2019: "We Believe". It was Unilever that first introduced social responsibility into packaged goods advertising with Dove's Self-Esteem Project, but Procter & Gamble grabbed that ball a few years back and have been running with it ever since. That underlying message has gradually been rolling out to different brands, finally reaching Gillette on this the 30th anniversary of that long-established brand slogan "The Best A Man Can Get". In an age of MeToo and more, Grey New York questions many of the existing assumptions about what truly makes for the "Best" from men. Needless to say, Gillette's status remains unchallenged even if casual sexism, bullying, mansplaining and apparently even barbecues are a strict no-no. Director Kim Gehrig does a fine job of corralling the elements: she's become the go-to for these types of campaigns, last seen on that fine "Viva La Vulva" campaign for Essity, featured here late last year.
Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Aug 2016: You can always tell when the pressure is mounting: that's when the lawsuits kick off. P&G's Gillette division has issued a suit against main shaving rival Edgewell Personal Care, makers of Schick and Wilkinson Sword, citing "deceptive acts and practices, false advertising, unfair competition and patent infringement". Specifically, P&G is unhappy about claims that a new line of private label razor blades produced by Edgewell for retailers give a "shave as good or better" as Gillette's three-bladed Mach 3 design. The blades are designed to be compatible with Mach 3 razor handles. The filing requests that Edgewell's blades be withdrawn from retailers' shelves. It's Gillette's third suit against rivals in eight months. It is also suing Dollar Shave Club (now being acquired by Unilever) for patent infringement; and four former Gillette employees who joined start-up ShaveLogic for breach of contract and sharing trade secrets. According to Euromonitor, Gillette's share of the US shaving market has fallen from 71% in 2010 to 59% last year. The market itself is also in decline as a result of the popularity of hipster beards. Edgewell's share has fallen too in that time, from 13% to 11%, while private label doubled to 6%. New entrant Dollar Shave Club has carved out around 5%.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jul 2016: Ads of the Week: "Perfect Isn't Pretty". P&G launched a big Olympics push for Gillette this week, with this extended film from Grey New York. It's an all-star athlete line-up, with specially commissioned musical backing from Sia. As the slogan "Perfect Isn't Pretty" suggests, the ad dispenses with the usual gloss employed in sports endorsement campaigns, depicting instead the gruelling training regimes these guys put themselves through: a painful, solitary, family-unfriendly slog. The sequences a re all very convincing (with only the inevitable shaving scenes looking even remotely staged). Nice work.
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