P&G: ProGuide Styler Could Reset Male Grooming Business
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Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) could upset trends in male grooming with its Fusion ProGlide razor, jointly developed by its subsidiaries Gillette and Braun. The gadget, to be used for the styling of male facial hair, contains three trimming combs and a handle for flexible, easy grip to make this a DIY job.
Instead of catering to the metrosexual look, where genders blend, P&G targets men who showcase their facial hair and nurture that look through careful styling which comes across as "casual." Previously, Gillette's focus was facial hair-removal for men. In FAST COMPANY's breakthrough article "This is Generation Flux," the photo of Mashable.com's Chief Executive Officer Pete Cashmore, 26, shows facial hair which appears neat but not fussed-over. According to P&G's own research, Reuters reports, more than 40 percent of males in North America style their facial hair. Last time checked, P&G stock price was at 66, with a 52-week range of 57.56 to 67.72.
In the traditional category of male grooming, P&G's main competitors have been Revlon (NYSE: REV), L'Oreal and Unilever Group. In 2010, Unilever ramped up its presence in this niche by leveraging its successful Dove franchise to products for men. P&G, which is already in 180 countries, has been increasing its investment in emerging markets, ranging from Brazil to India. In the latter, that took the form of making its Mach III razor a loss leader at $2, down from $6. Global Industry Analysts (GIA) estimates by 2015, male grooming products will be a $33.2 billion worldwide market.
But, if Fusion ProGlide razor takes off, it could be a very different category. Not only will there be more gadgets and services for making hair on the male face a fashion statement. There is likely to be more action by atypical players. Back in 2004, when it had 13 percent sales growth for the first half, Avon (NYSE: AVP) made the strategic decision to ignore the male grooming market. Today is a different story. Avon's stock price at 17.5, in a 52-week range of 16.09 to 31.60, and its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Andrea Jung a lame duck as the company searches for new leadership. Yes, Avon is now in. For example, on Amazon.com, it sells the Men's Travel & Grooming Kit. It could invest less in the metrosexual trend and could cater more and more to men who sport facial hair. If the promotions are done right, this could be the dominant fashion meme.
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