Billie joins Gillette and Venus in P&G's shaving stable as CPGs increase direct-to-consumer acquisitions for ecommerce growth.

Gillette and Venus are getting a new shaving sibling. Owner Procter & Gamble Co. announced it is acquiring digitally native startup Billie. The brand, founded in 2017, focuses on women’s shaving supplies and ships razors, shaving cream, body lotion and other goods directly to consumers.

The Billie acquisition comes a year after P&G, No. 674 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, acquired Walker & Co., which sells direct-to-consumer shaving and skin care aimed at black consumers under such brands as Bevel and Form.

Billie offers its razors and other products through a subscription service and also sells products à la carte. Prior to the acquisition, Billie raised a total of $35 million, according to Crunchbase. Billie is No. 1685 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Next 1000.

Billie joins Venus and Braun in P&G’s women-oriented shaving lines, but will remain under leadership of co-founders Georgina Gooley and Jason Bravman. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“When we started Billie, we wanted to build a company that would meet the body care needs of women in the U.S. and around the world,” a spokesperson for the retailer said. “Partnering with a global brand like P&G provides a significant opportunity to continue delivering on that vision and expanding it into new channels and geographies.”

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P&G isn’t alone in buying its way into the world of digitally native vertical brands focused on shaving. Unilever kicked off the trend, acquiring Dollar Shave Club (No. 165) back in 2016 for a reported $1 billion. And Schick owner Edgewell acquired Harry’s (No. 201) for $1.37 billion in May.

Online U.S. CPG sales rose 35.4% in 2018, according to a report released in early 2019 by consumer goods data-collection firm Information Resources Inc. (IRI). This growth is much faster than the 3.4% growth in sales at food and beverage stores, including the supermarkets that sell most CPG products, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Based on data from IRI’s E-Market Insights, online sales measurement and analysis service, online CPG sales in the United States totaled $58.6 billion last year. That accounted for 11% of total U.S. CPG retail sales in 2018—but 64% of the growth.

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