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You Are Not Alone: How Many Are We? The Market

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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?


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

9 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone: How Many Are We? The Market”

  1. My collage age nephew says that many of his male friends are really into men’s facial products as well as DE shaving. It’s sort of a “thing right now,” he says.

  2. I enjoyed the thought process of shaving business. I would suggest that 5% of people use a shaving brush would be way too high of an estimate if safety razor and straight razor usage is less than 5%+ (especially with the glycerin based brushless shaving cream). I also doubt that people add a new shaving brush and razor to their collection (a foreign idea for most of us on here). The last issue in the estimate is that (not to be morbid) people die.
    I think with this critique of your thought process and the addition of women who shave with traditional shaving method (I assume pretty small number of women) you will have a good estimate for where the market is for new shaving products.

  3. I am not in the USA, so your figures do not fully apply here. But I would guess that way more than 5% of the men use a shaving brush. And supermarket prices for shaving brushes are more like (currency converted) $10.

  4. I would like to think those numbers are in the right ballpark, but as Larry mentioned, the only way to actually tap into the population growth is to talk about it and to convert people. When I switched to DE shaving it was a gradual process, I started with a brush and soap with a cartridge razor for a year or two before going DE, never got any guidance from anyone (although my Dad has always been a straight razor guy), but it was looking for something that irritated my skin less than the mach25, and doing the research… That said, I’ve converted a few friends since, not by being in your face about it. but by answering their questions… We had friends in from out of town, and one of them noticed my brush and razor and on their stand on my counter and started asking questions… Sometimes all it takes is the conversation…

  5. Estimating this number is a daunting task. You would need access to retail data that is private, and co-operation between competing manufacturers, and vendors (unlikely).
    Most of all, you would have to overcome the first rule of Shave Club, the more we talk about wet shaving, the more those with 5 o’clock shadows, scruff, beards, and electric razor burn think we are crazy. Converting the chore of shaving to “an art and pleasure” (Proraso) takes an analog man in an increasingly digital world. To them we are the antiques, albeit with BBS shaves.

    1. I think a lot of people are starting to rebel (in a small way) against technology that alienates them from their daily activities, not just in shaving. A lot of modern technology takes the tactile element out of doing things (touch screen mobile devices, ebook readers, razors with “lubricating strips”, Nespresso machines that brew your coffee without you ever touching a bean). For all that I like to mock them, I think hipsters are reacting to this a little bit (now we just need to get more of them to shave).
      What I want to know is; what are the big manufacturers going to come out with if they decide to jump on this bandwagon?

  6. I think you also need to think about the age of DE shavers. I would guess that the average age is relatively high so we are probably losing quite a few every year meaning the population growth would not be much of a factor

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