Schick cuts into razor market

Schick-Wilkinson-Sword, the world’s second biggest razor company after Gillette, is hoping to gain up to 50% of the Middle East’s women’s razor market.

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By  Roger Field Published  January 8, 2006

Schick-Wilkinson-Sword, the world’s second biggest razor company after Gillette, is hoping to gain up to 50% of the Middle East’s women’s razor market, the company announced recently. Schick, which has a market share of about 6% in the Middle Eastern razor sector, is optimistic that it can make a dent in its rivals’ markets after launching the world’s first women’s four-blade razor, Quattro for Women. Directors at Schick think the company may have an edge over some of its rivals in the women’s razor sector, and are also keen to tap a market that it sees as somewhat under-developed. “Schick-Wilkinson-Sword has traditionally been a lot stronger on the female razor than the male side,” Rupert Booysen, business manager, Schick, Middle East and Africa, told RNME. “In many cases, we’ve got a bigger and more comprehensive range to service the lady shaver versus the opposition. “We’re looking to take a significant share of the female systems segment. By adding Quattro for Women, we’ve got a comprehensive range. We’re in a position now to offer entry level disposables for women, right up to one of the best women’s razor systems in the world. ” He added that with the right marketing strategies in stores across the Middle East, Schick should be able to take a significant share of the womens systems’ market, which is estimated to be worth about AED3.6 million in the UAE alone, from rivals including Gillette. Schick is planning to promote its new Quattro razor mainly through so-called ‘below the line’ promotions rather than television and billboard advertising. This is mainly because the market, and advertising media, is fractured in the Middle East, which can make high-level advertising too expensive for many companies, according to Boosyen. “[Some multinational companies] are looking at cutting back on TV advertising and divert that to in-store,” he said. “They also realise with the money that they spend, getting the message across to the end consumer is getting more and more difficult.” But while television and billboard advertising costs are often beyond the reach of many companies in the Middle East, Schick is benefiting from the experience and market presence its parent company, US battery firm Energizer, has in the region. Furthermore, Energizer, which claims it leads in the Middle East’s battery sector, is using its existing distribution channels and local markets in the region to help market its razors, including the Quattro. “There are a lot of synergies from a distribution network point of view, between batteries and blades,” Boosyen said. “That seems to be helping our blade business. There should be cost savings compared with companies that don’t have those networks. If you want to start a business on your own and don’t have a big support network, opening up the doors will cost you a lot more.” But it is not just the non-disposable, razor systems market that Schick is aiming to increase its share in. It is also targeting the disposable razor market and claims to have already met with some success. “On the disposables we’ve doubled our business already in the Middle East so we’re definitely hoping to take more market share,” Boosyen said. He added that increasing its share of the systems market is likely to be tougher, mainly due to brand loyalty in the market.

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