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  1. #1

    Default Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    There are some pros here that I know will have the answer.

    Why, just why are so many scents sold in such large amounts? I would own so many more factory originals if they just came is smaller portions. I would love to not buy decants but I just can't justify the price of a bottle that will last more than a lifetime. I would gladly pay a premium to own 15-20 ml original bottles of some SL, Montale, Tauer, etc. and I have a hard time understanding why the market won't allow for smaller bottles.

    I can't be the only joker around that feels like this. Am I ?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    It's all about supply and demand. Demand is fueled in part by advertising exposure and creating a need within a given market.

    Also, it's about the concept of scarcity of resources. What is desirable is not often in large supply in a given society, hence the concept of exclusivity and the value of what is scarce; we have the concept of the "exclusive" perfumes--hard to find and pricey. (How many women are 20 years old, tall, leggy with such-and-such dimensions, and are willing to work on a runway?) These rare women fulfill the requirements of the required "look" and are paid well to model--they are rewarded for their rarity and are sought out by celebrities and other men of fame and wealth. (I need not talk about the money the models themselves make...)

    Some niche retailers offer an option for us "po' folk" to buy expensive scents in the travel bottles/atomisers--same juice in smaller quantities. By Killian and Juliette Has A Gun do this.
    Last edited by Primrose; 17th March 2010 at 02:29 AM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  3. #3
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Since my collection has been massive, I have been buying 8ml decants from Perfumed Court of the niche scents I must have but won't wear more that several times realistically. I just discovered Mrclmind does this,too, while watching his fabulous youtube reviews. One might argue it's not cost effective oz for oz, but for me 8ml for 25 dollars that I can wear up is better than 200 for 100ml that I won't come close to making a dent in...

  4. #4

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    I've always been frustrated by the fact that so many perfumes are only sold in large amounts. I'm another person who only buys samples or decants. I would gladly buy from the manufacturers if they sold portions of 6 or 8 or 10 or 12 ml.

    I don't think "supply and demand" really has anything to do with it. I think the principle at work is "product inhibition", the thinking being that if a customer has invested a huge amount of money in a huge amount of one perfume from one manufacturer, they will be less likely to go out and buy a competitor's perfume.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    There is clearly a large demand for smaller quantities of fragrance as evidenced by TPC and all the other businesses that sell decants. The fragrance manufacturers must be aware of this but refuse to release the supply. Montale for example- they make a 20ml bottle that they give as a "gift" but don't sell these 20 ml bottles which would last most people years.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    When I first started buying perfume, I would only buy the ones that were sold in "mini" sizes, so those were the only manufacturers who got my money. Now that there's the internet and places like TPC, I buy much more (and better) perfume. The profit from my many purchases all goes to the decanters, not the manufacturers, which is just as well, I suppose, given the policies adopted by the manufacturers.

    I think that maybe the manufacturers fail to realize that even if I (and others of my ilk) could afford to buy an industrial-size bottle of anything and everything that strikes our fancy, we would not do so simply because it's wasteful.

  7. #7
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    I think there are two reasons for the 50, 75 and 100 ml bottles. First, most people buying perfumes & colognes want something to wear somewhere between once a week and twice a day. (We aren't most people. We're hobbyists. We're important to niche perfumers. I doubt we're important to Bulgari or Chanel.) Second, I think the perfume makers and the department stores what to sell you $70-100 of something. The industry introduced the 30 ml bottle only when they had trouble selling the bigger, more expensive bottles. I predict that when the economy picks up you won't see many of these on Macy's shelves.

    Of course, if enough of us promised to pay $100 for 6 ml, maybe someone at Hermes would help us out

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    I have not purchased any of the new Chanels because of the enormous bottles. Companies are shooting themselves in the foot by adhering to the concept that bigger is better. I love the idea of purchasing an ounce of juice, at least for an initial purchase. It is enough for a good, honest "try", but not so much that I feel commited to the stuff. Guerlain once sold one ounce bottles. I love that Parfums de Nicholai sells one ounce bottles. (Although I'm still miffed about the changes to Odalisque...)

  9. #9

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    One anomaly I can think of in the "only big" phenomenon is Prada's Infusion d'Iris.

    I have it in the 1.7 oz, the 1 oz and also in the silver travel spray. I only wish more companies did this.

    I also have a darling 1 oz. of Versace The Dreamer!

    It's time they had perfume like poodles, dogs suited to the role be it lapdog or gundog water retriever: the toy, the miniature and the standard. As many perfumers are based in France, they owe it to suit their bottles to the caniche concept! LOL!

    Yes, the 200 ml of EDT is a bit silly *and* pricey.
    Last edited by Primrose; 18th March 2010 at 01:44 AM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by ECaruthers View Post
    (We aren't most people. We're hobbyists. We're important to niche perfumers. I doubt we're important to Bulgari or Chanel.)
    And yet I find niche companies are more guilty than designer companies when it comes to offering one gigantic size only. It's not all that hard finding 30ml of your average Jil Sander or Kenzo or Bvlgari, but Profumum, Parfumerie Générale and Chanel Exclusifs come in jugs of 100ml or up only.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Most people don't have huge collections, but only a few. In such cases buying a big bottle makes a lot more sense.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by veuve amiot View Post
    And yet I find niche companies are more guilty than designer companies when it comes to offering one gigantic size only. It's not all that hard finding 30ml of your average Jil Sander or Kenzo or Bvlgari, but Profumum, Parfumerie Générale and Chanel Exclusifs come in jugs of 100ml or up only.
    My point exactly. Back when I was happily buying the Jil Sanders, Kenzos, etc. I could often find small quantities, especially in Europe, but now that my tastes have broadened, it's getting harder and harder. I have to say, though, that some of the "niche" companies do sell samples or "sample packs". Ormonde Jayne, TDC and Parfums DelRae have particularly nice ones. If a company sells samples directly, I'll always buy from them to encourage the practice.

    Since I've been on the perfume forums I've come to realize that many people do, in fact, buy huge quantities of just a few perfumes. This was a revelation. To me, buying a 100 or 200 ml bottle of perfume is like buying a whole tank truck full of wine instead of a bottle, and having to drink the same thing for years. Even before I was a card-carrying perfume nut I had a large collection just because I like variety and trying new things. I always thought that was normal, but maybe not.

  13. #13
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Great point about the sample packs. I've also gotten packs from Neil Morris, Andy Tauer, Ineke and Czech & Speake. On average I like about one out of every group really well.

    But I also like 100 ml bottles (when I find them at TJ Maxx). That's enough I can get a longer term sense of the fragrance by spraying my pillow every night, spraying a handkerchief to carry every day, etc, and still feel like I have as much as when I started.
    Last edited by ECaruthers; 21st March 2010 at 12:51 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Partagas View Post
    Why, just why are so many scents sold in such large amounts? I would own so many more factory originals if they just came is smaller portions. I would love to not buy decants but I just can't justify the price of a bottle that will last more than a lifetime. I would gladly pay a premium to own 15-20 ml original bottles of some SL, Montale, Tauer, etc. and I have a hard time understanding why the market won't allow for smaller bottles.

    I can't be the only joker around that feels like this. Am I ?
    You're in good company; I feel the exact same way. And whenever I shop around for fragrances I always ask the SA if they stock anything in 1 oz. The only exception is when the fragrance requires a generous application for best effect. Most of the citrus/bergamot-topped EDCs fall in this category so I can understand why something like Eau de Campagne and Eau de Guerlain come in large bottles. But strong stuff like Montale Black Aoud?

    Surely every marketer know the value of repeat purchases, when customers buy something they run out of. And each visit to the store represents an opportunity to market other stuff to this same customer. This makes more marketing sense to me than purely appealing to the 'value for money' mindset with the larger volumes. But when you have 200ml bottles of fragrance, you're less likely to run out of anything...at least not in a couple of years.
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 21st March 2010 at 04:13 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Quote Originally Posted by Partagas View Post
    There are some pros here that I know will have the answer.

    Why, just why are so many scents sold in such large amounts?...
    I can't be the only joker around that feels like this. Am I ?
    As we know already the juice isn't the prime addend to the total cost. Forget about the amount sold with each bottle as a reasonable guideline for the price. With other customers than perfumistas the logic could be as follows. IF somebody likes a fragrance, the person will not reach for an other to soon. A lasting bottle, hence of some volume, will contribute to an overall satisfaction connected to the brand. A bottle that empties within a manageable time span will give room to parsimony and frustration.

    To come back to fun I thought by myself - now published ;-):: 'they' won't sell You less for proportional less money either. Why argue with a huge volume then?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    My (largely unsubstantiated) assumption is that:

    - "Exclusive" houses don't want to sell anything below a certain price point. They simply don't want you to be able to walk out with their perfume for less than, say, $100, or $200, or more.

    - The majority of the cost of perfume is advertising, developing the bottle, developing the box, producing the bottle and box, shipping, markup, labor, handling - essentially, everything but the juice.

    Some of those are probably slightly affected by the amount of juice (for example, a heavier bottle probably costs more in shipping), but I'd bet that a big bottle costs only a little more to produce, ship, and sell than a small bottle.

    - People are used to thinking that more stuff is more value. They don't stop to consider whether they'll _use_ more stuff. Whether it's the giant head-sized jar of Marischino cherries at CostCo, or a giant bottle of perfume, they put a higher value on more stuff.

    - And I guess the vendor is also motivated to get you to spend all of your money on one product, instead of leaving you with some that you might spend on someone else's product.

    -------

    So, if a house doesn't want to sell _any_ bottle for less than $200, and the big bottle only costs them a fraction more than the small bottle, and they don't want you to look at a half-ounce bottle and say, "$200 for something barely bigger than my thumb? I don't _think_ so." then they, for example, offer you a giant 6.8-ounce bottle of Cuir de Russie for $200.

    And I spend a year to eighteen months debating whether to buy that bottle, while if they offered me a half-ounce bottle for thirty dollars, or maybe even sixty dollars, I'd have bought it two days after I sampled it. I don't know how often that happens, so I don't know if their strategy is worthwhile for them or not.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Can someone here please explain the economics of perfumery?

    Surely it is very simple, and is to do with economics. It is much cheaper to fill one big bottle then 16 little ones.

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