I’ve been watching the market closely and have analyzed the wet shaving market for 2021. This is based on my own thoughts through constant research of the market.
Most of us have welcomed 2021 with open arms. After a very challenging year for virtually everyone on the planet, 2021 brings a fresh start for all of us and I’m sure some new and exciting trends for traditional wet shaving.
Items That Have Shown Increased Interest:
Note: Amazon and Supply links are Sharpologist affiliate.
Rare Vintage Safety Razors
I was a little shocked with the recent increase in auction prices when it comes to vintage razors especially Gillette’s. There were several higher than normal auctions that really increased the value of some rare razors. I saw a cased Red Dot go for over $1300, a Serial Toggle go for over $4000 and several bottom dial razors going for over $2000. These prices are well above normal for years past and up until 2020 the vintage market actually saw a decline that started in 2017.
What may have caused this recent increase could be the pandemic itself. Many people are getting their grail razors, as a result of being stressed and just deciding no better time than the present to get that special piece. This may lead some to spend more than normal.
I would expect the market to slightly increase before evening out. This would be the perfect time to sell if you are waiting for the right moment and a great time to buy if you’re willing to spend the money. Increase in value: Approximately 20-40%.
Entry Level Safety Razors
It does seem as if more people are becoming interested in traditional wet shaving. It could be that with the pandemic, people are taking the plunge. Whether it be lurkers who decided to finally try it, or just those trying to save a few a few bucks over more expensive forms of shaving there has been an increase in interest for the entry level safety razor. (According to Amazon the Merkur 34c moved up several hundred spots on their best sellers list in 2020) These readily available razors such as the King C. Gillette, Merkur and Muhle have seen an increase in web traffic and it’s fair enough today it will continue into 2021.
As for value, expect to pay retail or less on the secondary market as these razors are abundant and readily available. Be aware that Merkur/Dovo was in the process of being sold in 2020 so there may be changes along the horizon.
The quality of synthetic shaving brush knots have gone up significantly in the past several years and wet shavers have taken notice. What was once a cheap alternative to higher natural hair bristles, recent innovations have some synthetic shave brushes standing right up there with their natural counterparts.
The best part is, these brushes are readily available, sustainable, and very affordable. Brushes that have been receiving great reviews: The Trafalgar fiber brush by Simpson,the Peregrino Brush by PAA and the Silvertip Synthetic by Supply.
As technology improves and the demand for synthetic shave brushes continues to rise, one can only guess there will be more interesting additions to this line-up.
Be on the lookout for higher end producers offering more of a selection regarding synthetic knots in 2021.
Out of Production Razors
The idea that “People want what they can’t have” is prevalent here when it comes to razors in general. Once they’re gone some models really gain interest.
While many high-end razor producers are seeing a decline in secondary value, that’s not the case for those no longer being made.
2020 showed a slight increase in value on razors no longer being produced, such as the Weber, LASSC BBS-1, original Tradere and especially the Raw Shaving line ( which is receiving an increased amount of attention). Interest really became prevalent once users found out they won’t be made anymore and that has boasted value.
Expect to pay anywhere from 20% to over 500% over the original msrp for these no longer made gems in the secondary market.
Items That Have Shown Decreased Interest
Single Edge “Gem Style” Razors
The increased interest in vintage and the surplus of new DE razors, has put single edge Gem style safety razors on the back burner. Although these razors perform well and are readily available on auction sites and BST forums, their value have lowered significantly in the past year and interest has dropped.
For those of you who may not know, Gem style razors are those that take GEM single edge blades, that looks like it belongs in a box cutter.
While reviewing my notes for the Wet Shaving Talk Podcast in 2020 I was shocked to see that I did not mention Gem Style razors even once in the past year. I did some more research and just by scrolling through the major wet shaving forums, it seems like for every there is one SE post for every 15 or so posts for about double edge razors.
Currently these razors may be the best value on wet shaving. You can easily pick up a user grade model for less than $20 and in many cases less than $10.
High-End “In- Production” Razors
For the second year in a row, there’s been a decline in secondary market value for higher end razors. (Double edge, Single Edge and Straights) The days of buying a Wolfman razor and flipping it for double the retail value seem to be in the past as most companies have stock readily available and/or have waiting lists that actually work. After talking to some artisans with waiting lists, they say the cancellation rate is anywhere from 25-40% on orders. This leads me to think the market has plateaued.
I would expect to pay retail or 10-15% below for any used high-end razor that’s still in production, unless it’s made of a specialty material in limited quantities.
High-End Shave Brushes
Over the last two years we saw a dramatic drop in interest for high-end brushes. Before that, It wasn’t uncommon to purchase a Wolf Whisker, Declaration, Black Eagle or Wiborg brush and instantly flip it for over double what you paid.
The hand-tied craze of brushes (or shave brush knots hand-tied by the artisan) seems to have dwindled down as there are now several artisans offering the service at an extreme premium (roughly $110-$200 a knot) and users are getting great quality from regular Asian knots (which are also hand-tied) and the increase in quality for synthetic knots.
I would expect to pay retail or maybe 10-15% over for a “ hand tied by the artisan” model whereas a year ago you would be looking at paying 25-50% over retail.
Single Edge Artist Club Style SE Razors
For the second year in a row there has been a decrease in interest for SE razors that take the larger ”artist club” single edge blades.
Although these razors really peaked out in 2015-2017 being some of the most sought after safety razors out there but since 2018 has seen a steady decline in interest.
There are several companies making these now with the originals being Cobra and Mongoose. Expect to pay -10% to -25% retail when picking one up on the secondary market. Although interest has declined they are still great shavers!
Although 2020 posed its challenges we saw over 20 artisans enter the market and only a handful that left. With the major forums membership up (some as high as 100K members ) the wet shaving market looks promising for 2021.
Happy New Year Everyone!