13 Aug 2014
A ‘Millennial’ according to Wikipedia is a person who was born between 1984-2000. That’s someone who’ll be between 30 and 14 as I write this. So what?
Well, this is firstly, a generation that has grown up (especially if they were born in the early 90’s) with A) the Internet and B) Mobile phones. And this is important for brands. Before the WWW brands pretty much used mainly TV and of course press, to ‘Brand Broadcast’ their products to consumers, and these consumers would go down to the shops and buy them, and either stick with them, or not. This all changed in 2006, with firstly the introduction of Facebook (sharing personal content at scale) and then in 2007 with Twitter (sharing ‘what you were doing right NOW’ at scale). Now, of course, we have Snapchat (sharing privately what you are doing at scale) and… well, who knows whats’ next.
We now live in a world of ‘Digital Dialogue’ where opinions are instantly expressed, often ‘knee-jerk’ (Rate or Slate) and these opinions may or may not be listened to when it comes to purchase of products.
This interests me a lot. In April 1993, when I founded King of Shaves and started shaving with a shaving oil, I was 28. I didn’t like shaving, I got a shaving rash, you could only buy Gillette or Wilkinson (or, at a push – Bic) and shave with a steel can of shaving foam or gel. So much for selection and shaving satisfaction.
So, I’ve grown up with King of Shaves, next Monday I turn 49, and am no longer the super cool dude I thought I once was (well, maybe I’m kinda alright).
In 1999, my son Cameron was born, he turns 15 later this year, and is already shaving (yep, amazed me – for sure). He uses a Hyperglide, and keeps his skin clean and free of pimples with some of our products. This made me think. “Wow, so all the men who started King of Shaves in volume, from 1996-7 onwards (when our sales hit £1m pa) will hopefully have stuck with us over all these years, and THEIR sons will see King of Shaves in the bathroom, ask Dad what he shaves with, and maybe engage with us.
I’ve no idea how many thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of young people will start to shave ‘in the digital age’ where they actually have a choice. You know what, they won’t be like me – when I had the choice of – um – Gillette. Nope, they’ve got a myriad of choices now, and I’ll be intrigued to see what happens to our sales, and our user demograph over the coming decade.
After a two year slow down in sales (men shaving less frequently, rise of beards, cost of razor cartridges et al) sales seem to be picking up… OK, the recession has ended. OK people may have more money in their pockets. If they’re going for a job, they may want to make a ‘clean cut’ first impression, and shave. I do know that along with sales of shaving preps and razors/blades, sales of men’s deos are down and the only sector that’s in growth is men’s skincare.
But, what will be the impact of the rise of the Millennial shaver? WIll he (and of course she) get behind brands that were launched just before or during their lifetime. Or perhaps stick with ‘The Best Grandad Could Get’.
It’ll be intriguing to watch, that’s for sure.