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'Beardonomics': Hipster stubble shaves profits from razor company

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 4:17 p.m. MST

Shaving a beard a sight to make Gillette giddy.

Ben Smith, "benjaminasmith" via flickr

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As beards and stubble become more popular, razor manufacturers may be panicking.

"Procter & Gamble says the trend of letting facial hair grow is hurting sales in its razor division," says NPR Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep. "The company even singled out Movember — that's the 10-year-old tradition of men not shaving in November to promote awareness of prostate cancer."

NPR's Renee Montagne, who calls this "beardonomics," added that Procter & Gamble is rethinking its hair strategies to "focus on other hair grooming products, with a marketing push toward getting into shave all the rest of their body hair — something known as manscaping."

So, the idea is that while manly men will have more beards and stubble, they will be shaving their backs, chests and legs.

CNNMoney explained that Proctor & Gamble, which makes Gillette razors, had flat sales in their grooming products "sparked largely by a shift to disposable razors over blade and cartridge systems."

Financial Times said that Gillette is worried that Movember "magnified a deeper-seated trend that is more troubling to razor makers: a decline in facial shaving."

The threat of a shifting trend can send fear into an industry like the unverified legends that say how in 1934 Clark Gable removed his shirt in "It Happened One Night," and wasn't wearing an undershirt, which caused sales of the undershirts to plummet.

Procter & Gamble isn't worrying too much, though. Gillette sales are a small part overall in the giant corporation, as CNNMoney points out: "Sales gains in the company's health care and fabric care product lines helped P&G to report better-than-expected earnings."

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