It’s been quite some time since there have been so many positive comments uttered about the fragrance category. Fragrance sales have picked up this year, even in some of the category’s most difficult markets. In the US for example, sales of prestige fragrances were up by 8% for the first five months of the year according to NPD and the category is forecast to see a full- year increase of 5%. In France meanwhile, fragrance sales saw only a 2.7% increase in value sales from January to May, but the men’s segment managed to see value growth of 4.9% in the period.
As for the rest of the year, retailers are encouraged by the crop of new launches hitting the shelves, citing the new fragrance from Elie Saab, Puig’s début offering for Valentino and the Bottega Veneta scent marketed by Coty Prestige. Retail buyers have also commented on a more coherent mix from brands in terms of juice, packaging and communication. They add that more interesting products are stimulating demand and bringing consumers back to the market.
The retail environment has often been seen as a stumbling block when it comes to selling more fragrance. But even on this front there is some good news. More retailers are experimenting with creating interesting fragrance areas and looking at different ways to advise and sample scent rather than just spritz a passer-by. At its new Milan Excelsior store, Italy-based department-store operator Coin has installed a perfume bar where fragrances are sprayed in paper cups that the consumer can take home - the idea is to let him or her savor the scent in their own time.
But perhaps one of the most striking examples of new fragrance retail concepts is French department store Printemps’ attempt to re-focus on the category and create a ‘belle parfumerie’ in its beauty section. The concept, which will be officially unveiled this month at the Printemps flagship store on Paris’ boulevard Haussmann, aims to present scent in a more luxurious environment. Brands have been given more space to showcase their fragrances, some with their own shop-in-shops and there is much less focus on promotions. All this bodes well for the fragrance category. But there is still a good deal of caution in the market, which has no doubt been amplified by turmoil in financial markets and the euro crisis. This glimmer of innovation in fragrance may just be coming at the right time.
For more analysis on upcoming trends in the beauty market go to BW Confidential’s website: www.bwconfidential.com