Gillette to debut shaving gel

Gillette Canada is hoping to work up a good lather in the women's toiletries market by launching a shaving gel called Satin Care.The product, also being launched in the u.s., is expected to hit Canadian shelves in March.Satin Care is similar...

Gillette Canada is hoping to work up a good lather in the women’s toiletries market by launching a shaving gel called Satin Care.

The product, also being launched in the u.s., is expected to hit Canadian shelves in March.

Satin Care is similar to Gillette’s shave gel for men, but is packaged and scented more appropriately for women, and contains aloe and other moisturizers.

The potential demand for such products is obviously huge, with more than 80% of women shaving their legs regularly.

‘It’s an emerging market,’ says Tony Tomasetta, Gillette’s marketing manager for grooming products. ‘Women want products specifically for women.’

According to Gillette, the product has tested exceptionally well in marketing trials.

The women’s shaving market, potentially as large as the men’s, has never lived up to marketers’ high expectations.

Most women still reach for their partner’s shaving cream, or simply use soap and water.

‘There are a lot of women who wet-shave, but nowhere near that number that use a shaving cream or gel,’ Tomasetta says.

Despite its small size, the women’s market is expanding rapidly.

Canadian sales of creams and gels were almost $2.8 million in 1994, up about $1 million from the previous year, according to Nielsen Marketing Research.

Gillette Canada will spend about $1 million on tv advertising in Canada, and another $500,000 on print, mainly in women’s magazines.

W.K. Buckley, maker of the bad-tasting cold mixture, has been marketing a non-aerosol shaving cream called Soft Shave for about four years, with limited success.

John Meehan, vice-president of general marketing for Buckley, says that during the recession women were more careful to buy only relatively essential toilet and makeup items such as lipstick and eyeliner.

‘We had hoped to put some advertising behind it, and revitalize the brand, but that’s been very slow to materialize,’ Meehan says.

The one company to make any real headway in the women’s shaving market is S.C. Johnson, with its market-leading Skintimates product, first launched about four years ago.

The name of the product was changed from Soft Sense to Skintimate, after the sale of the skin lotion of the same name to Bausch & Lomb early last year.

Cooper says the primary difficulty S.C. Johnson faced entering the women’s market was developing a product of superior performance to regular shaving cream.

The product was developed after ‘considerable’ market research to ascertain what women want from this type of product, which, not surprisingly, includes moisturizing properties and scent.

S.C. Johnson also markets the Edge family of shaving products for men.

The announcement that Gillette is launching its own shaving gel for women is not necessarily bad news for companies involved in that market.

There is agreement that if the giant shaving supplies company can increase overall interest in women’s shaving products, everyone involved could stand to benefit.

‘They may well increase the demand,’ Meehan says.