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Home Fragrance Innovates

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the October 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

The home fragrance market continues to respond to consumer demand. New concepts, materials and diffusing systems have spurred growth, while aesthetics plus the desire for clean home freshness have broadened product appeal. Marketers continue to offer sensory-oriented introductions, with favorites like candles, scent sticks and oils remaining strong, while seeking reinvention.

The global air care market was valued at $7 billion in 2006, with U.S. value recorded at $2.5 billion, according to Euromonitor International. These figures include sales in spray and aerosol air fresheners, electric air fresheners, gels, liquid and candle fresheners, as well as car fresheners and other household air care. Global spray and aerosol air fresheners reached $2 billion, with candle air freshener sales reaching $606 million in global retail. Clearly, the market is showing demand for products that freshen and fragrance homes, with U.S. air care sales growth placed at 7% in 2006. These U.S. consumers are drawn to air care for several reasons, not the least of which is a busy lifestyle that translates into less at-home cleaning, irregular pet ownership and the desire to create ambiance. In response, companies have launched products like Glade Scented Oil Candles, and imagery-driven items, like Febreze Scentstories, which offers a variety of ambient options on disc.

A new wave of scented products has resonated with customers seeking particular atmospheres in their homes, including clean laundry scents, like fresh linen, citrus and rain; comforting food scents; or scents suggesting the outdoors. Candle air fresheners have been a strong growth area, but also face competition from traditional scented candles, which many consumers find to be aesthetically pleasing.

Electric air freshener sales have been strong, showing 10% growth in 2006, says Euromonitor, fueled by Febreze Noticeables by Procter & Gamble and Glade Plug-Ins Scented Oil Light Show by SC Johnson. Febreze Noticeables, a plug-in scent oil warmer, offers two complimentary scents that alternate automatically throughout the day. The company says the device is designed to combat the phenomenon known as habitualization, which occurs when the nose adapts to a single scent and no longer notices it. Glade Plug-Ins Scented Oil Light Show also made news as the first air freshener aimed at tweens and teenagers, offering a choice of fragrance and colors.

Expressive Palette

Fragrance in the home continues to be an expressive palette through which cultural and emotional phenomena may be expressed. “The home fragrance market has been the shining star of the scent business. It has continued to post gains with new fragrances, new delivery systems and new retail opportunities, engaging today’s wily consumer in the fragrance game,” said Virginia Bonofiglio, Fashion Institute of Technology.