Steve Worthington of BornSharp recently sent me an interesting link: Scruff Is In As Men Shave Less. I found it interesting not so much because it was about “scruff” but rather the numbers of people who shave. It got me to wondering how many of “us” (who shave with an “old school” kit of some kind) there are, and how big a market it might be to business.
There are currently approximately 152 million adult men in the United States (according to Wikipedia). If we can trust the source of the data in the article, 94% shave, or approximately 143 million men. Of those, 36% use an electric razor, leaving about 91 million men who shave manually.
Here’s where it gets a little more difficult. How do we determine how many use a brush, and how many a double-edge (or single-edge or straight) razor? I’m willing to bet someone at P&G knows (or at least someone in The Art of Shaving subsidiary) but they’re not going to tell me. There are a couple of periodicals that might help (Amazon, Reportbuyer) but they are too expensive for me to obtain easily and I don’t know if they will have the actual data I am looking for. So, can we make an “educated guess?” I think so. For the purposes of discussion let’s say that 5% of manual shavers use a shaving brush. That would be about 4.5 million men. I am sure those who do not use a cartridge razor (i.e. DE, SE, straight) would be an even smaller percentage, let’s say 1%. That would be roughly 900,000 men.
Let’s use the Wikipedia statistic that male population growth is 0.7% (remember we’re just talking about the United States for the moment.)
So about 4.5 million men may use a shaving brush. If the typical shave brush retails for $50, that’s $225 million. Perhaps more realistically, let’s assume that most brushes are sold as part of a set (razor, brush, stand, maybe a small bowl and/or cake of shave soap) and the average set retails for $75 but wholesale’s at $50. That’s a potential of at least $100 million in profit! Plus a growth of over 30,000 additional men every year…a potential $750,000 annual market with the previous numbers.
Now our “guesstimate” of 900,000 men who don’t use a cartridge razor. If the average DE razor is about $50, that represents $45 million, with a population growth of about 900 men annually. However I suspect that actual rate is higher, as more and more men rebel against the “razor blade wars.”
What do you think of these numbers?