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Beauty 2017-2018, Part 6: Fragrance – Good News/Bad News

Contact Author Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor in Chief
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From left: Karen Grant (NPD), Jordan Rost (Nielsen) and Sarah Jindal (Mintel) at CEW's forecast event (credit: JF Productions).

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Cosmetic Executive Women’s recent Global Trend Report event in New York provided a look at the trends that are reshaping the beauty industry, with expert insights provided by NPD, Mintel and Nielsen. Read the full series here: 4 Ways Industry Paradigms Are Breaking Down, The Makeup Money Machine, Beauty Gets Well, Where Consumers Shop and What’s Working in Skin Care & Hair Care.

December was once reliable for fragrance industry sales, said Westly Morris of Mane. Yet, in 2016, U.S. December prestige fragrance sales were down year-over-year. Karen Grant, SVP, global beauty industry analyst, NPD, pointed out that 10% fewer women age 18-24 and 5% fewer women age 25-34 reported shopping for fragrance in all of 2016. Of those that did, 76% reported purchasing fragrance as a treat for themselves.

Market Dynamics Jordan Rost, VP, consumer insights, Nielsen, noted that 2016 fragrance sales dropped 6%, compared to 2015. According to Grant, prestige sales rose slightly (1%), while mass dropped significantly. Prestige in-store sales actually dropped; all gains came from the online space, which rose by $91 million. Grant added that the overall fragrance category saw 9% fewer launches in 2016, compared to the previous year.

Where the Growth Is

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According to Grant, about 90% of U.S. consumers use scented products such as perfume, candles (up 16% in 2016), diffusers (up 19% in 2016), portable formats such as rollerballs (up 11% in 2016) and travel sprays (up 38% in 2016), home ancillaries/gift sets (up 75%) and gender-neutral scents (up 34-54% in 2016).

At the same time, the niche fine fragrance segment has added more than $240 million to the fragrance market since 2014. Grant noted that consumers worldwide tend to favor fragrances alone, over gift sets, the latter of which have experienced declines in roughly half the global markets.

Top Launches

The top fragrance launches of 2016, according to NPD data, included: YSL Mon Paris, Coach New York, Michael Kors Wonderlust, Mont Blanc Legend Spirit and Versace Dylan Blue.

Grant explained that flankers added $84 million to the fragrance market, comprising 21% of total sales.

2016 Top Women’s Prestige Fragrances*

  1. Coco Mademoiselle
  2. Chance
  3. Amazing Grace
  4. Chanel No 5
  5. La Vie Est Belle

2016 Top Men’s Prestige Fragrances*

  1. Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme
  2. Bleu De Chanel
  3. Sauvage
  4. L’Homme Yves Saint Laurent
  5. Armani Code

*NPD data