By Clotilde Drapé – Beauty & Fashion Analyst at Euromonitor International
Globally, fragrances saw total value growth of 5.5% in 2017, reaching USD49 billion. Whilst Asia Pacific was the fastest growing region from a small base, the developed Western Europe and North American markets still take the lion’s share of revenue. Unsurprisingly, the US and Western Europe remain the industry trendsetters but increasingly consumers in emerging markets are showing similar behaviours and shifting values. When it comes to fragrances, this universal evolution of consumers’ priorities can be explored through six core pillars: purpose, simplicity, wellbeing, differentiation, uniqueness and empowerment.
Firstly, consumers are looking for a sense of purpose and seeking brands that support a cause or champion inclusivity, for example. The brand Sana Jardin Paris, from company Sana Jardin, perfectly embodies this concept, by promoting social change and empowering female workers through The Beyond Sustainability Movement. Simplicity is another core pillar that we see driving consumer preferences and product innovations, with brands releasing basic, simple and traditional scents, which is also reflected through marketing strategies and packaging that have seemingly moved away from sexualised tactics. Le Labo or Byredo, which respectively belong to Estée Lauder and Manzanita Capital, are the poster girls of this trend, enticing the consumer simply through scent and exclusivity. The desire for simplicity in formulations, or at least perceived simplicity, stems from a growing preoccupation with wellbeing, as consumers are increasingly living healthy lifestyles, promoting consciousness of what we feed our bodies and put onto our skin, but also greater awareness of mental health. With its Clean brand, Clean is taking a holistic approach to its products, seeking to provide a sense of well-being and call to consumers.
Increasingly, consumers are growing tired of the monotony in fragrance marketing and the homogony of scents. This brings huge opportunities for niche brands to develop and offer some original product propositions to savvier consumers, especially among millennials or Gen Z. French brand Le Parfum Citoyen has identified a range of Gen Y urban citizens such as “the hipster”, “the geek chic”, the “cool girl” etc. as a way of engaging with consumers’ unique personalities. Likewise, digital innovation is looking to shake up traditional fragrance models by bringing new store concepts and personalised experiences to consumers. The fragrance discovery platform Sniph understood early on how to balance the consumer desire for uniqueness and trying something new, with the highly personal nature of the product by allowing the shopper to sample artisanal scents from a wide range of brands, embracing the idea of “choosing first, committing later”. Similarly, the discovery model plays into the notion of individual empowerment, with smaller pack sizes expected to grow more popular as consumers turn away from traditional 100ml bottles, which require too much of a commitment and allow for consumers to build their own fragrance wardrobe.
The coming years will be interesting when we consider how designer fragrance brands will adapt to their audiences by stepping away from traditional advertising and embracing a more individualistic, consumer-led narrative. Companies such as Puig SL, Coty Inc, LVMH and L’Oréal have adapted to the market by purchasing smaller niche brands. However, they are also starting to develop strategies to revamp their existing portfolios and adapt to these consumer trends. Future product innovations will keep on feeding from the need for uniqueness sought out by consumers all around the world. Unisex brand Escentric Molecules and independent company of the same name, taps into providing fragrances that adapt to consumers’ skin pH levels, leading the way with more exciting innovations to look forward to.
Find out more about Euromonitor International’s latest beauty findings in the ‘Voice of the Industry: Beauty and Personal Care’ report.