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Fragrance Gains in 2006

By: Briony Davies
Posted: May 10, 2007

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Artisanal fragrances are helping to revive the industry’s status as an art form, bringing it back to its apothecary roots. Memoire Liquide, for example, consists of a library of 160 scents contained in glass vials complete with stirring rods. Bespoke perfumery, in particular, also helps to educate consumers about the craft—how scents are created, the types of ingredients used and how they react with the body’s own perfume to smell different on different people. This again adds prestige to the industry, potentially on a level comparable with the wine industry. Some consumers have already begun collecting rare scents, and some Web sites offer tips on how to source and store them. For the industry, this means a more discerning consumer, a reinvigoration of the premium fragrances segment and willingness to trade up for quality. The trend towards less concentrated eau de toilette varieties will also be reversed, with a resurgence of eau de parfum launches. Product life should also increase, bucking the present trend of high launch activity, and advertising budgets could also be cut, with funds instead being more heavily focused on the development side. There may also be a move away from the idea of a fragrances wardrobe as consumers seek out scents with which they have a more personal connection. Roja Dove is heading this trend, offering a service which helps the consumer to identify their signature scent.

Positive Outlook
According to Euromonitor International’s latest data, fragrances will grow as fast as the overall cosmetics and toiletries market—a rosier view than that presented this time last year. Manufacturers will need to carefully think about their strategy in emerging markets to keep ahead of the game. China, for example, has a number of pitfalls—the most significant being the lack of entrenchment of fragrances in the culture of the country—that need to be considered in parallel with the obvious potential that exists. Wider industry trends, such as the focus on the consumer and the drive for natural/ethical products, which will be covered in next month’s column, all need to be kept at the forefront of minds alongside those that are specific to the category—including the possible backlash against celebrity and the rise of a more educated consumer.

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