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Home Fragrance Still Hot!

By: Karen Doskow, Kline & Company
Posted: November 3, 2008, from the November 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Continued innovation and improvements will boost future sales for room sprays.
  • Diffusers will continue to dominate, especially in mass channels.
  • New fragrances, particularly nature-mimicking and clean-laundry style scents, will aid sales.

Fueled by a strong sales boost in multifunctional room sprays and reed scent diffusers, the U.S. home fragrance market posted a very strong 6.2% sales gain for 2007, with total market retail sales reaching $5 billion. The latest data from Kline & Company’s study, Home Fragrances 2007: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities, indicates the market will continue on its upward trend during the next five years, with continued innovation and the incorporation of natural/sustainable products playing an important role in the uptick through 2012.

Sprays, Diffusers Steal the Show—and Share

Leading the pack in terms of sales growth, room sprays posted a whopping 18% growth during the past year—growing nearly three times faster than the overall market. The skyrocketing historical growth in this category is largely the result of innovative air-sanitizing and odor-control products, such as Procter & Gamble’s Febreze and S.C. Johnson’s Oust. In 2007, market leader Reckitt Benckiser introduced its Air Wick Freshmatic Mini, contributing to the company’s banner sales year in which it saw a strong double–digit gain.

Gains in the room spray category are largely attributed to growth in sales through mass channels, with strong support coming from P&G, Reckitt Benckiser and S.C. Johnson. On the coattails of their success, mass-market channels now account for 52% of total market sales, up 3% from just five years ago.

Likewise, scent diffusers posted sales gains of nearly 10% greater than in 2006—thanks mostly to the growing popularity of reed diffusers, which are simple to use and can be left unattended without risk of fire. The novelty, safety and long-lasting fragrance of reed diffusers have attracted consumers away from traditional candles. In fact, reeds have become so popular that Yankee Candle Company, the second largest home fragrance player, has incorporated more than 20 of their top-selling scents into this product line.

Candles’ Glow Continues to Fade