Moneycontrol
Mar 16, 2017 12:01 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

EXCLUSIVE: Watch out, Gillette: Unilever's hot Dollar Shave Club set for India debut

The Dollar Shave Club, popular online seller of affordable razors and men’s grooming products in North America, is planning to make its India debut soon. The startup, which was acquired by Unilever for a USD 1 billion last year, is scouting for a country head for its India operations.

 
 
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The Dollar Shave Club (DSC), popular online seller of affordable razors and men’s grooming products in North America, is planning to make its India debut soon. The US-headquartered startup, which was acquired by Unilever for a USD 1 billion last year, is scouting for a country head for its India operations and the person heading its Indian operations will formulate the launch strategy and profitably scale up the business in India.

The online seller of men’s grooming products has advertised the position on Linkedin a few days ago and applicants can directly apply on the company’s website. The post says: “Dollar Shave Club, one of the fastest-growing online grooming businesses in the US is expanding into India, and we’re looking for a Country Manager to build our Indian business.” An email sent to DSC headquarters remained unanswered till the time of publishing while Hindustan Unilever said in an email: “The company does not respond to market speculation,” when a questionnaire was sent by Moneycontrol.

The country head for India will direct and coordinate business activities against long-range and short-term profitability and business growth goals and objectives for the local business. Interestingly, a few online businesses talk of profitability before they even launch.

DSC, as the company is known, was started in 2012 by Michael Dubin to take on expensive razor brands like Gillette and it does so by providing a month’s supply of razors for merely USD 1 a month. The Dollar Shave Club follows a membership model and ships razors to their members. In its first advertisement, Dubin is seen describing the company’s razors as “f...ing great.” He goes on to ask consumers in the ad: “Do you like spending USD 20 a month on brand-name razors? Nineteen go to Roger Federer.”

Dollar Shave Club was acquired by Unilever last year to expand its global footprint in the men’s grooming business and to give a fight to arch rival Proctor & Gamble-controlled Gillette. In India, too, Gillette controls a large share of the men’s grooming market.

The men’s grooming market in India has been growing by a double-digit percentage annually for the last decade. According to Euromonitor, men’s grooming sales more than doubled over the past five years, growing from Rs 3,000 crore in 2010 to Rs 7,500 crore by 2015. Gillette India is a very important player in the men’s grooming market and has a 23 percent value share of this market. Dollar Shave Club is a direct competitor of Gillette.

India is the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market and investment banks like Morgan Stanley expect online sales to hit USD 120 billion by 2020.
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