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CEW Fragrance Rainmakers: Creating Scent Success in a Crisis

By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor, Perfumer & Flavorist magazine
Posted: November 25, 2009

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Marketers hoping to recapture consumer excitement, Gottlieb continued, could take a page from the niche market, which allows for higher price points and juice quality and thus engages consumers. In addition, older women neglected in other channels may find a home in this arena, fleeing a landscape where “everything is too young for them.” Gottlieb added, “The intrigue and appeal of niche is that you don’t see it everywhere.”

Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American Fragrances echoed her co-panelists’ sentiments, but provided a more global perspective. Looking at the fine fragrance world from a macro perspective, she said, paints a more nuanced picture. The U.S. market is down 10–12%, with U.S. retailers looking at a holiday downturn alone of 2–12%, she acknowledged. Those same retailers are forecasting a flat market through 2011.

Meanwhile, southern Europe continues to be challenged. However, said Walsh, Australia is poised for strength and China could be up by as much as 10% in 2009. Surprisingly, the U.K. fragrance market is also strong.

In the current environment, she pointed out, leading global brands—Chanel, Dior, Armani, Calvin Klein and Hugo Boss—prove resilient. Dolce Gabbana has actually increased market share by as much as 30%. Scents such as Acqua Di Gio are doing very well. Out of the top five global brands, three have cosmetic lines—Chanel, Dior and Armani—proving there is synergistic capacity.

In addition, Walsh underscored the importance of packaging innovation, embodied by “bold creativity.” In addition to highlights such as Fuel for Life, she said, the Harajuku Lovers fragrance line added “excitement and delight for consumers and retailers,” adding it “brings theater into stores.”