Shaving stick producers intensify battle for consumers’ patronage

THE product segmentation and revolution taking place in the shaving stick and the shaving powder market has taken a toll on major manufacturers, forcing them to play to the mass market, particularly in the shaving stick segment. Investments by foreign companies with subsidiaries in Nigeria, the culture of growing beard, public hair shaving and population explosions have been identified as responsible for the growth of the sub-sector. The manufacturers’ are engaged in marketing activities through advertising, product innovation to bring the products closer to consumers, through the direct marketing approach and price competitiveness. The manufacturers have also deployed the product segmentation strategy to capture the mass market. The multinationals are also considering Nigeria as one of their key markets in Africa, primarily due to the huge market size, which they see as attractive and ready-made for the products. These developments have however heightened the battle for market share among major manufacturers and importers of the products, thereby narrowing contenders to four in the shaving stick segment, putting  Gillette, Dorco, BIC and Merkur Heavy Duty  34C  ahead of others in the market. However, the Nigeria market has over 12 shaving sticks and  shaving powder brands, all  imported,    jostling for dominance nationwide, while some have emerged top of the mind brands with national spread. A look into the market showed that some of the brands have been able to gain acceptance because of their low price differentials, for example  BIC, manufactured by SCOA sells for N100, a stick, compared to  Gillette, manufactured by Procter and Gamble, P&G, which sells for N150, a stick and  Dorco,  produced in Vietnam, marketed by Vine Mom Links Limited, that sells for N200 a pack containing five sticks, likewise  Merkur Heavy Duty 34C, manufactured by West Coast Shaving, Germany, which sells for N1,200 for a stick. The three contenders in the shaving powder segment are  Nick stick,  Clubman  jumbo styptic pencil,  Infa-lab, Arko, Lea shaving  soap stick  and others that readily come to mind. Vanguard  Companies and Markets(C&M) findings show that the rising demand for these products’ are based on increase in population, clean shave to keep younger and good  looking have resulted in outright marketing battles that has thrown up battle for the pocket of consumers which has resulted in innovative products.  C&M  also discovered that there are women who do facial shaving to keep hair away from the face. A further look into the market by  ii  revealed that  Dorco  has assumed a leading role in the market, giving  Gillette  a run for its money with  BIC  also contending for the leadership position, leaving others to scramble for the remaining portion of the market. The presence of hand-held razor blade shaving is still waxing strong as some consumers still prefer razors for shaving, a situation they say is convenient for them. While some say they cannot afford to buy shaving sticks for N100, as 10 pieces of razor is bought for N100, at best for N5 per piece, depending on the brand. However, some consumers say the use of shaving stick or razor cause irritation and bump on their cheeks, others say they prefer clipper.s. Some consumers are choosy when it comes to shaving sticks, as a majority declared their loyalty to Gillette. C&M    found out that some consumers say shaving stick like  Merkur Heavy Duty 34C  amounts to extra spending, because they buy razors for the stick. Consumers’ reaction A consumer,’ Mr. Ambrose Ijeoma said he prefers  BIC  but alternates with  Dorco.  When it comes to shaving, “I started using  BIC  when it was N20, today it is N100   a stick, which is still within my purchasing power, I was using  Gillette  earlier, its disappearance from the   market   for some time made me shift my loyalty to  BIC and Dorco  .” Another consumer, Ayomide   Olaoluwa, who is a loyalist to  Gillette  said I do not think I can use another shaving stick, my skin is allergic to some sticks, that is why I stick to the brand. Ms.  Kate  Unah, a consumer said:  “Facial shaving for women isn’t news. In fact, dermaplanning is the fancier option that spas offer to help take off a layer of dead skin. In addition to removing those baby hairs, it also helps products absorb into your skin better. It gives you a gorgeous glow and in turn, your fuzz is gone.” Likewise, consumers who use the shaving powder brands prefer the  Arco  brand, but alternates with  Lea shaving  soap stick  while other brands struggle to have recognition in the market.