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Mintel Reports Women Want to Smell Like They Feel

Posted: October 28, 2010

While factors influencing fragrance purchase for women—such as price, celebrity endorsement or season—may be well known, the latest research from Mintel reveals the biggest influence may not be a fixed factor. It seems mood is now the most popular motivator of fragrance choice for women, as more than half (54%) of female fragrance users decide what fragrance to use based on how they’re feeling.

Coming in at second place, 31% of fragrance users say they decide which fragrance to apply based on their activity (work function vs. a personal outing). Meanwhile, 26% of users decide based on the time of day ,and 25% decide based on what they’re wearing. Those older than 45 are more likely to wear one fragrance, or a signature scent, so they’re less likely to base their choice on their clothing or mood.

“Women in the 18–44 age range are more prone to change their fragrance based on a number of different factors, while those older than 45 are more brand-loyal,” says Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “This may be a result of these younger women juggling multiple activities and responsibilities with a busy work schedule. While they may deem a certain scent appropriate for the office, they might choose a more flirty scent for social functions.”

Motivations for fragrance purchase differ just as much as fragrance choice, but the clear favorite is in-store samples. Sixty-nine percent of fragrance owners say they’re motivated to purchase a new fragrance based on samples they’ve tried in a store, while 26% cite a recommendation from a family member or friend as the impetus behind a new purchase.

“Women have to experience a scent to make sure it’s appropriate, as there aren’t many objective criteria they can use to test smell,” adds Fay. “Female consumers often say that a fragrance smells different on their skin than it does out of the bottle, so trying an in-store sample increases the likelihood that they’ll still be happy with their purchase once they get it home.”