Are you looking for a new style? An instant way to transform your face is with facial hair. The rugged, masculine beard has made a major comeback over the past couple of years; sported by leading men from Affleck to Pitt. At the same time, razor sales are down across the United States. Could the two be related? It seems as if there are multiple factors contributing to the decline of razor sales, but the popularity of beards certainly seems to be taking a toll.
Razor Sales Falling
Energizer Holdings Inc. manufactures Schick razors. The company claims that their unit sales volume sank by 10% in the past quarter. This is the largest decline that the company has ever seen, according to Chief Executive Ward Klein. Although the sales of cheap disposable razors have climbed by 4%, more expensive shaving systems are on the decline for brands like Gilette and Shick. Research firm Euromonitor International confirms this trend, predicting that the shaving industry is set up to take a fall in the male grooming market due to the current vogue for an unshaven face. Euromonitor predicts that the facial hair trend is expected to continue, not only in the United States but also in Western Europe thanks to a combination of beards being in fashion and high rates of unemployment.
The Rise of Facial Hair
Yet even for those who are gainfully employed, facial hair has become increasingly acceptable and even welcomed in the workplace. Today’s facial hair styles cut through different levels of society. A short, well-maintained beard is now considered to be a corporate style, while in the past a clean shave would have been more appropriate. Beards have gone mainstream for both hipsters and more straight-laced types. Moustaches are becoming increasingly outlandish, and beards ever scruffier. When men grow out their moustaches in November to raise prostate cancer awareness for the charity “Movember,” many find that they enjoy the look of facial hair and choose to keep it. Many are becoming increasingly daring with their facial hair choices as the look goes mainstream, going to an excellent barber school or salon to stay in line with the latest styles.
Other Contributing Factors
The economic downturn and the popularity of facial hair from catwalk to boardroom may both play some role in the recent downturn in razor sales. However, another trend which seems to contribute is the resurgence of the barber shop. Although the barbering industry fell on hard times in the 1990s and 2000s, more men are now eschewing using razors at home in favour of the luxury of a close barber shave. In fact, more barber shops opened up in the UK last year than any other type of business. Men are paying more attention to personal grooming, and the popularity of 1920′s and 1950′s hair styles require regular barber maintenance. At the same time, expert barbers can shape beards into creative shapes and styles, which can be difficult to achieve at home.
Whether it’s due to the ubiquity of beards on red carpets, the sluggish economy, or the resurgence of the barber shop, a negative toll is being taken on the home razor industry. While elaborate facial hair continues to be in vogue, this trend will most likely persist into the future.