Gillette’s newest razor doesn’t come with an extra blade or better handle. Instead, the $200 razor heats up to give men the “pleasure of a hot towel shave.”
But for Gillette, which is owned by consumer products conglomerate Procter & Gamble (PG), the heated razor is not a gimmick.
Gillette is betting there’s an audience for the high-tech luxury razor, which has two heat settings: 110 degrees and 122 degrees. The razor has built-in heat sensors and safety features to prevent it from overheating.
“This is a super-premium luxury razor,” Gary Coombe, CEO of P&G’s global grooming division said at the company’s investor day last November when the heated razor was first unveiled publicly. “We’re very encouraged by the early reception and the potential market for this kind of product.”
The US razor industry isn’t growing, so P&G hopes that introducing premium innovations like the heated razor will compel some customers to trade up from their regular Gillette razors, explained Ali Dibadj, analyst at AllianceBernstein.
For Gillette, convincing some customers to switch is a “particularly important goal,” he said. That’s because Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club have forced Gillette to lower prices for its main razors.
The heated razor also helps P&G show that it’s focused on innovation and using cutting-edge technology. P&G showcased the product at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show along with an Olay “skin advisor” platform that uses AI to offer personalized skincare recommendations and Airia, a smart home fragrance system.
“We’ve been delighted with the reception from the tech and grooming community,” Coombe said in a news release Thursday.
Gillette released a limited number of the heated razor last year on crowd-funding website Indiegogo, and they sold out in a week.
Now, Gillette is bringing it to mass market. Gillette announced that the razor will be available for pre-order on Gillette’s razor subscription website and P&G’s high-end Art of Shaving stores and site beginning on Friday.
The heated razor has a stainless steel warming bar that heats up within a second. It has five thin blades and a battery designed to last up to six shaves on a single charge. It also comes with a wireless charging dock.
Replacement cartridges will cost $25 for a pack of four.
Committed to razors
Gillette has struggled in recent years against competition.
Between 2012 and 2017, P&G saw its market share for men’s razors and blades drop by more than 13 percentage points in the United States, according to Euromonitor International.
Gillette has responded by lowering prices, selling three-blade and five-blade razors that cost less than $10 and disposable razors that feature cooling technology. Last year, Gillette launched SkinGuard, which is designed for men with sensitive skin.
During P&G most recent earnings call in April, an analyst asked whether the company was committed to staying in the razor business.
“This is a business that we not only want to keep, but that we like and feel we can win in long term,” chief financial officer Jon Moeller responded.