Filling the Fine Fragrance Void

While fragrance itself is intriguing to consumers, the power of scent on their purchasing behavior is also telling. This is a topic I heard a great deal about at a recent industry event. To give the abridged version, studies have shown that consumers prefer stores that have ambient scent and are often willing to spend more on the same merchandise than when they are in an environment with no scent. In other words, if they “scent it,” they will buy. What really struck me was that people do seem to like fragrance, and even prefer it over being fragrance-free, but that interest doesn’t seem to translate to fine fragrance, or fragrance juices. Why the disconnect?

Fine fragrance usage has been a topic of conversation in the U.S. among those in the industry for the last several years, and for good reason. According to past NPD usage studies, there has been a decline in consumption of fine fragrance, which started around 2009. This year, six in ten women reported that they use fine fragrance, with a much lower percentage using fragrance on a regular, everyday basis*.

Although consumers may not be using much fine fragrance, they do want to include scent in their lives. Nine out of ten women indicate that they use scented body products such as deodorant, lotion, or body sprays. These figures are more in line with behavior seen in the retail experiments: people really do like scent!

There are several reasons why consumers report a lack of, or decline in usage of fine fragrance juices, including cost, routine, and health concerns. As an industry, we can and should find ways to overcome these barriers to usage.  It is important to recognize that consumers are looking for alternative ways to experience scent, and helping them fill this void is where the opportunity lies for the fragrance industry. Knowing that shoppers do, in fact, like scent and want it in their lives is encouraging news. The challenge lies in how to provide them what they want, and in the way they want to experience it.


* Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Women’s FragranceTrack 2014


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