The NPD Group, Inc. released results on the U.S. fragrance industry, showing the continuing strength of the category’s prestige segment. In total, the prestige fragrance industry displayed robust sales of $1.6 billion in U.S. department stores year-to-date (January to September 2012), with men’s fragrance sales growing slightly faster than women’s. According to The NPD Group’s BeautyTrends, total prestige fragrance saw a dollar growth of 7% YTD in 2012 over YTD 2011, with women’s total prestige fragrance dollar growth up 6.5% and men’s total prestige fragrance dollar growth up 7%.
Designer fragrances, which account for nearly three-quarters of the total market, grew the same rate of the overall category performance, while jewelry and niche prestige fragrances almost tripled. Jewelry fragrance brands like Boucheron, Bulgari and Cartier, and niche fragrance brands like Creed and Jo Malone helped to take this segment of the fragrance category to double-digit growth in the first nine months of the year. The NPD Group’s BeautyTrends shows total designer fragrance dollar growth up 7% YTD 2012 versus 2011, with total women’s designer fragrance dollar growth up 8% and total men’s designer fragrance growth up 7%.
BeautyTrends also reported total jewelry and niche fragrance dollar growth for YTD 2012 versus YTD 2011 up 19%. Further broken down, total women’s jewelry and niche fragrance dollar growth was up 18.5% and total men’s jewelry and niche fragrance dollar growth increased 20%.
“The fragrance brands that are being sold in more selective distribution are experiencing explosive growth. We’ve seen this trend with high-end designer brands like Tom Ford and Jimmy Choo, and this is also evident today with jewelry and niche fragrance brands,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group.
Grant continues, “Even though niche and jewelry brands make up only 9% of the total prestige fragrance market they are creating a new dynamic in the larger fragrance arena. They are growing faster than any other type of fragrance in the prestige space, and their combined sales are actually more than double the size of prestige celebrity fragrances.”
In addition to niche and jewelry brands experiencing the largest dollar growth, they generate sales at one of the highest average price points in the prestige fragrance market. While the average price in women’s and men’s for these fragrances are about $70, selections in this space may be in excess of $350 and leading brands are often in the $200 range.
“It is quite a compelling story that despite the economic uncertainties that prevail, we continue to see sizable pockets of growth in prestige fragrance. And, when one considers the price, these fragrances are often treasures and truly an investment,” said Grant. “Yet, if we were to compare the scope of the premium market in countries like France, the U.S. still has significant opportunity to expand sales further in this frontier. Consumers are continuing to invest where they see the value.”