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Fragrance Preferences Shifting in U.S. Prestige Women's Market

Posted: February 14, 2014

The NPD Group reports the women’s U.S. prestige fragrance industry is experiencing a shift in the types of scents being purchased. While total industry dollar sales declined slightly to $2 billion in the 12 months ending December 2013, sales of woody oriental scents, the second largest fragrance family, and smaller segments grew during the same time period.

In U.S. prestige women’s fragrance dollar sales performance by fragrance families with growth for the period of January–December 2013 vs. 2012, according to The NPD Group, woody oriental had a 13% dollar share for 2013, a 4% rise; oriental has a 2% dollar share for 2013, a 2% rise; woods increased 11% for 2% dollar share; citrus had a 2% dollar share for 2013, up 6%; and fruity had a 1% dollar share for 2013, an increase of 123%.

“Floral fragrances aren’t fading away, but less traditional scents are gaining more of the attention from female consumers than ever before,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Fragrance is a powerful tool that can exude an image and even empower an individual as an expression of personal preference. With the emergence of more artisanal scents on the market, women are welcoming the opportunity to experiment and explore different options.”

The standalone oriental, woods, citrus, and fruity fragrances are still a small portion of the market, at just 7% of women’s fragrance dollar sales, but they are growing at the expense of the larger segments, including the top-selling fragrance family, floral. Woody oriental is the only one of the larger blended fragrance families to experience growth in 2013. Two of the top 5 women’s prestige fragrances sold in the U.S. are part of the woody oriental fragrance family, while the other three in the top five are florals and a soft floral.

According to The NPD Group, the top five U.S. women’s prestige fragrance brands, based on 2013 dollar sales, were, in order, Coco Mademoiselle (woody oriental), Chanel No. 5 (soft floral), Light Bomb (floral), Flowerbomb (woody oriental) and Beautiful (floral).

“The recognizable classics remain strong, but new players are important rising stars to watch,” said Grant. “Today, the opportunity for reinvention afforded by a novel scent coexists with the instant indulgence provided by the classics.”