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“Generation Co” and the Future of Fragrance

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured
Posted: November 3, 2010, from the November 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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In this world, young adults self-report that they spend six hours a day in front of a computer, either PC or mobile, two and a half hours online, and about one hour a day on a social network (Bucher suspects this estimate is lower than actual). This immersion in socially oriented technology reflects a more general craving for new sensorial and communal experiences typified by, for example, Rock Band-type games and energy drinks.

In addition, this young adult bracket is increasingly involved in significant family purchases such as technology, appliances and even cars. And it turns out when it comes to fragrance, gender and geography distinctly shape preferences.

Global Young Adult Fragrance Preferences

From January through April of last year, Symrise surveyed participants regarding preferred fragrances. Each was asked to choose up to eight preferred scents and one favorite. Notable in the U.S. results was the insight that department stores are witnessing declines as a source for scents as the surveyed young adults tend to purchase scents in locations where they shop, including clothing and specialty stores. For example, the top scent among males in the U.S. data was Abercrombie & Fitch’s Fierce, and several fragrances in the Women’s top 30 used fragrances came from Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works.

U.S. males: U.S. males favored several Axe products, in addition to scents from top brands such as Adidas. (Because Axe is considered more of a deodorant product in Europe, it did not appear on the EU list.) Other leaders include fashion brands found in mass-market locations, including Acqua Di Gio, ckOne, Burberry Touch, Eternity, Polo Sport and Fahrenheit. Some influence from celebrity brands include Sean John and David Beckham. EU males: While top male young adult scents in the European Union include brands like Adidas, they are generally markedly different from the preferences of their U.S. counterparts. Top EU young adult male scents include: Hugo Boss, Le Male, Armani Code, Black XS and Lacoste.

The leading scents in common among U.S. and EU males featured what Bucher characterizes as classic masculinity: Armani Code, Acqua Di Gio, Hugo, Eternity, D&G The One and Light Blue.