In Fragrance, Men Going Stronger, Women Trending Softer

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Scent behaviors are changing. Colognes and other lighter-concentration fragrances are growing in popularity among women, while eau de parfum (EDP) and other high-concentration scents are gaining ground among men, according to a new NPD Group analysis.

Men's EDP sales for the 12 months ending February 2015 totaled $51 million in sales, while women's prestige cologne totaled $69.6 million in sales.

Growth among strong fragrances is being driven by sophisticated early adopters and multicultural male and female shoppers, according to NPD.

Growth in lighter feminine scents reflects a focus on naturalness.

Shave Products Down, On-the-Go Up

Simultaneously, men's prestige after shave products, which include after shave balm, lotion, creme, gel and other products, continued their three-year decline, totaling $19.5 million for the same period.

Meanwhile, both men and women sought out on-the-go fragrance formats such as travel spray, roll-on and rollerball products, which grew 67% among women and 54% among men. Convenience for everyday routines is a key driver for these products, according to NPD.

Changing Behaviors, New Audiences

“By all appearances, it seems that men are establishing a new relationship with fragrance, and their level of experimentation and sophistication has risen," said Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst, The NPD Group. "EDP is a niche and emerging category, likely embraced by early adopters who are generally more sophisticated users. In line with this emerging type, the growing presence of multicultural men as well as women—likely buyers for men’s fragrance—within the U.S. population provides a new audience for richer scents."

She continued, “Women’s fragrance behavior ties together with their movement towards natural beauty. Like the growth of active wear in apparel and footwear, growth in the more subtle fragrance concentrations complements the lifestyle elements of casualness growing within the women’s market.”

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