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How much are safety razors 'really' making a comeback?

Suppose that B&B members in 2091 will be reminiscing about the good old days when you could walk into any Walmart or Walgreens and see rows and rows of Gillette Fusions and the carts were dirt cheap as was the canned shaving cream? And wondering if they are making a comeback?

Well, I better buy as many of the ''rare'' promotional Gillette Mach 3 and Fusion razors as I can and keep them in mint condition as well as as many blades I can possible buy, because one day they will be concidered as collectable as the vintage Gillette Aristocrats are right now. I wish I could see that with my own eyes. It would be both fun and sad at the same moment to see how people are fighting for these atrocious things.

The funny thing about history is that it always repeat itself in one form or another. Just like we laugh at what people in the past used to think or do, the same thing will happen to us one day and that circle never ends.
 
Well, I better buy as many of the ''rare'' promotional Gillette Mach 3 and Fusion razors as I can and keep them in mint condition as well as as many blades I can possible buy, because one day they will be concidered as collectable as the vintage Gillette Aristocrats are right now. I wish I could see that with my own eyes. It would be both fun and sad at the same moment to see how people are fighting for these atrocious things.

The funny thing about history is that it always repeat itself in one form or another. Just like we laugh at what people in the past used to think or do, the same thing will happen to us one day and that circle never ends.
You’re absolute correct, there really is nothing new under the sun. Every generation complains about the same issues; crime is out of control, everything costs too much, taxes are too high, government is corrupt, everything was better in the good old days. The list is endless.
 
Suppose that B&B members in 2091 will be reminiscing about the good old days when you could walk into any Walmart or Walgreens and see rows and rows of Gillette Fusions and the carts were dirt cheap as was the canned shaving cream? And wondering if they are making a comeback?

Well, in 2091 when everyone has an at-home laser hair removal tool or something like that, maybe it will look like the good old days to have to cut it off yourself with a blade.
 
Well, in 2091 when everyone has an at-home laser hair removal tool or something like that, maybe it will look like the good old days to have to cut it off yourself with a blade.
In 2037 we will create genetically engineered individuals who will not need to shave. In 2091 only old geezers (those born before 2037) will still need to cut off their whiskers. Since Gillette will go out of business in 2042, people will be forced to shave with straight razors and hand soap. The future is bleak.
 
Well, in 2091 when everyone has an at-home laser hair removal tool or something like that, maybe it will look like the good old days to have to cut it off yourself with a blade.
That sounds entirely possible, and since this eras youth will be that eras senior citizens it will be up to them to complain about the atrocious, over priced laser monstrosities and reminisce about the good old days when a measly $20 bought you a state of the art Gillette razor!
 
As to the OP's original question, I think it depends on what is viewed as a "comeback". If one takes that to mean a significant presence in the mainstream mass market, e.g. Walmart, Target, CVS, or name your favorite big box, then the answer is clearly no. In most of these places, there are very few, if any, safety razors to be found. And it doesn't look like that is likely to change any time soon.

On the other hand, compared to 10 years ago when I moved to DE shaving, there are now many more specialty shaving vendors and manufacturers, selling a much expanded selection of safety razors, not to mention blades, soaps and related products. So in that sense, safety razors have made a comeback; who would have thought 30 years ago that today there would be at least a dozen or more different CNC milled, high end stainless steel safety razors on the market? Or that vintage Gem, Schick and Gillette razors would be sought after, not to just collect, but to use? Or that there would be a specialty retailer offering no fewer than 299 different safety razors?

As many posters to this thread have pointed out, this still represents a small niche market, and it will likely stay that way. But that small niche has expanded so far beyond what I could have imagined just a decade or so ago. No, it isn't, and is not likely to be, a mass market comeback, but it is still a pretty big time comeback in my book.
 
I started DE shaving 6-7 years ago, when I saw a VDH razor w/blades for under $20 in my local Wal-Mart, while I was looking over the vast array of disposables that kept changing styles and brands every 6 months or so. I would buy a package of razors that I was comfortable with, use them up, go back to buy more, not there anymore. Got tired of changing brands, styles(2 blades, 3 blades). Bought the VDH, and have enjoyed the journey. Watched a bunch of DE shaving tutorials online, bought a soap puck and a brush. Found this site a few years ago, but did not sign on, but read a lot of the blogs, and learned about other brands, and products. I am not a hobbyist in this. I do enjoy all that goes witb DE shaving! Not going to buy 10 razors, or multiple brushes, or soaps/cremes. Have recently got a Parker 91R as a gift(wife knew I wanted it), and its great. I did find a local store that caters exclusively to DE shaving products. Bought a better brush, and a few tucks of blades to put in my VDH, but I wanted to get a closer, more efficient shave, which the VDH was not giving me no matter what blade I put in it. Tried a Feather blade, and it was pretty good, but found myself with the cleanup strokes again. With the Parker, clean up is minimal. Trying different blades in it, with Wilkinson(Germany) the front runner right now. Have yet to put a Feather in it! Have found my everyday razor right out of the box! So, for me the journey of the learning curve, and razor search is over. Blades is another journey, that might go on for awhile. Have to use up my stash of blades, but if they go up in price, I am set for awhile. Basically, I am out of the market for now. Yeah, there will be soaps/cremes to buy, but not every month or so. I talk up DE shaving to male family members and friends. Some are interested, some are not. I show them my razors. Some are impressed, others are not. Some say they really want to try it. I tell them come by the house, I'll set you up to try my VDH(which looks like new) with a new blade. No takers on that yet. Most say they are ok with their cart razor, and only listen closely when I tell them the price of blades. So, I guess DE shaving will probably stay as it is, a niche market, which is probably doing just fine as it is. I love my new Parker!!
 
While not a comeback in the absolute sense, I would venture that DE shaving has made a relative comeback given its state 20 years back (as it applies to modern Western nations). Available to us are a number of new razors, soaps and other wet shaving gear over the last decade alone. Interest in wet shaving and safety razors may not be all pervasive but there is a robust, albeit relatively small, enthusiast base and corresponding industry supporting it.

If we were to take a look back a few years, predictions were made about the future state of the industry:


In part, the analysis presents developing/emerging markets will continue drive growth due to urbanization and other factors. Here is a quote from the research:

The global market for Non-Electric Shavers (Razors and Blades) is projected to reach US$30 billion by 2020, driven by the resurgence of the traditional wet shaving trend, razor advancements, and robust demand in the developing countries.

Has this come to pass? I cannot say for certain. However, the world is certainly more than our local drugstore.

 
While not a comeback in the absolute sense, I would venture that DE shaving has made a relative comeback given its state 20 years back (as it applies to modern Western nations). Available to us are a number of new razors, soaps and other wet shaving gear over the last decade alone. Interest in wet shaving and safety razors may not be all pervasive but there is a robust, albeit relatively small, enthusiast base and corresponding industry supporting it.

If we were to take a look back a few years, predictions were made about the future state of the industry:


In part, the analysis presents developing/emerging markets will continue drive growth due to urbanization and other factors. Here is a quote from the research:

The global market for Non-Electric Shavers (Razors and Blades) is projected to reach US$30 billion by 2020, driven by the resurgence of the traditional wet shaving trend, razor advancements, and robust demand in the developing countries.

Has this come to pass? I cannot say for certain. However, the world is certainly more than our local drugstore.

This report was written in 2015, when interest in wet shaving was peaking in developed markets (using Google search term popularity as a proxy). I don’t think it’s developed beyond a niche hobby in developed markets, which is what they were projecting in the study.
 
This report was written in 2015, when interest in wet shaving was peaking in developed markets (using Google search term popularity as a proxy). I don’t think it’s developed beyond a niche hobby in developed markets, which is what they were projecting in the study.
Yes, I made it clear it's an older document. I will point out that they indicated developing countries will drive growth, not developed. Also, I would not solely rely on Google trends as a popularity indicator. For example, according to Google search trends, Taylor Swift peaked in popularity in December of 2014.
 
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Yes, I made it clear it's an older document. I will point out that they indicated developing countries will drive growth, not developed as you've indicated.
Fair enough. You didn’t say that, but neither did I. The article does say this: “Wet shaving, which includes the use of disposable and cartridge razors and straight razors, double-edge safety razors and injector razors, is currently donning the image of a main stream phenomenon than just being a niche market of casual hobbyists….”

That’s what I was specifically referring to. Given the data they had at the time, that was a reasonable projection.

I was addressing the article, I didn’t intend to misrepresent what you said.
 
Also, I would not solely rely on Google trends as a popularity indicator. For example, according to Google search trends, Taylor Swift peaked in popularity in December of 2014.
A fair point as well. I welcome other data as well. Google data is readily available so I pulled it.

I wonder how much venture capital money is rushing into traditional shaving products. Any guesses?
 
Fair enough. You didn’t say that, but neither did I.

To be clear, this is what I believe is the takeway from the report:

Future growth in the market will be driven by the increasing desire among men and women to appear well-groomed at all times, urban expansion, rural urbanization, and growing disposable incomes as a result of rapid economic expansion in the underpenetrated large emerging markets.
 

steveclarkus

Goose Poop Connoisseur
Until there are 2-3 choices of safety razors and 2-3 choices of blades to be had in the common drugstores like Walgreens and CVS, as well as the small independent druggists . . . I don't see it as a comeback.
I wonder how the current spate of inflation and supply chain problems will play out regarding this subject. Everything has a breaking point.
 
That's absolutely true, but what i'm trying to say is that I hardly know any people who shave with anything that isn't cartridge, electric shaver or a trimmer and when I tell someone that I use a DE razors, most people are saying things like - oh you mean those razors that our grandfathers used in the past, are those things still produced? The first thing that comes up in mind when people hear about a straight or DE razor is a bloodthirsty torturing device made by the devil himself and they wouldn't even dare try the mildest possible razor.

The other thing is that the majority of people are following trends for no reason at all and they buy whatever it's accepted by the masses. For instance, I have an old smartphone that is considered to be ancient device by the modern standards, but for me smartphones are extremely limited and I absolutely see no reason to buy a new one when I can do whatever I want on my laptop and use old and new programs alike. Lots of people think i'm crazy for still using that old phone knowing that I can buy a new one any time I want, but I just don't see the point of doing it and if I ask them why they want a new one so much they probably wouldn't be able to give me a logical answer as well, but it all comes down to buying the latest and newest product.

On other hand we're also guilty for that as well, because if you think about it when a new DE razor is introduced, lots of people are buying it and they forget about the old ones pretty quickly. The same goes for blades, brushes, soaps etc. It almost feels like playing a video game and you change your gear and weapons and throw the old and weak ones and use the new better ones. I still remember when the Razorock Game Changer was introduced and lots of people were super hyped and almost everyone who had it was loving it and all of that, but right now you can barely see anyone using it on the ''what razor/blade did you use today'' forum.

We just like the latest and newest toy more than the old one regardless of which one is the better one.
Dude get a new phone you will like it!!
 
A fair point as well. I welcome other data as well. Google data is readily available so I pulled it.

I wonder how much venture capital money is rushing into traditional shaving products. Any guesses?
Currently, I would think its quite small relative to the size the entire industry. What that translates into dollars, I cannot say. Most money is being funneled into convenience oriented products or products that are attractive to young people, who tend to gravitate towards modern solutions.

I believe that DE razors and blades will never see much more major development as most inputs into their manufacture have already been made. That doesn't no investment but I don't see major tooling investments going forward. However, corresponding shaving consumables and products will see growth. Here is another analysis:

Global Industry Analysts Predicts the World Shaving Lotions and Creams Market to Reach $11.5 Billion by 2026 - https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-industry-analysts-predicts-the-world-shaving-lotions-and-creams-market-to-reach-11-5-billion-by-2026--301393127.html

Consistent, recurring revenue with high margins is what most investors want to look into. Durable items like a razor aren't going to see sales into the millions of units in the West. It's also likely developing countries will skip the low cost DE razor phase and jump into more convenient cartridge oriented products, which have been made cheaper as of late.

DE blades are low margin items. High margins are to be found in soaps, creams, lotions and so on. Being consumables, there is an incentive to invest in that area. So, if I had to invest, it would be these areas as world grooming and shaving habits increase.
 
Because the ink cartridge razor and electric razor brands are the largest capitalists in the consumer goods industry, they monopolize most of the media and retail channels.
Therefore, even if safety razor becomes more lively than in the past, it is still difficult to become the mainstream; the benefits of DE blades are too low, and it is not easy to bring sufficient benefits to retail channels.

It is conceivable that the market for safety razors will become "M-type" extreme; lacking middle-level mass users, but will move closer to low-end cheap consumption and hi-end boutique collections.

Due to the rising awareness of environmental protection + the reflection on sanitary conditions brought about by the epidemic, it will also be an opportunity for safety razors.
 
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