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  1. #1
    Buzzlepuff's Avatar
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    Default What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Strolling through my local dept. store today I realized that there are hundreds of fragrances that I would not even call average - based purely on the way the scent smells. But, the retailer continues to buy these generic, lifeless, synthetic "sport" wanna be flankers to very average fragrances. You can walk past legions of Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Nautica's, Ralph Lauren, and Ed Hardy fragrance tries without seeing a really good fragrance at all.

    Surely people are buying these fragrances otherwise how could they continue to hold down the space on the fragrance shelves. But why do they buy them? It can not be the smell, so it must something else!?

    Why are people purchasing fragrances nowadays? Is it the bottle?, the marketing image?, the topnotes designed thrill for now and leave me later.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I wonder also. I think it has a lot to do with having the latest, which in many minds seems like "newest and most improved, thus better than what all those other people have worn (smelling like previous generations).
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  3. #3
    Dependent

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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    To some extent, I do suspect that when someone buys a Hugo, he/she is also buying into the designer image of Hugo Boss - an image he/she might want to add to his/her lifestyle.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    people buy things in order to belong. why does every high-schooler needs to wear clothes by polo/lacoste, or few years ago; A&F?
    It is because it is pushed by the mainstream, and it is set to be an image that is "right" and "cool" that will help to fit in.

    Younger crowed such as myself (my age group) tends to blend in more then to try and break out of normal standards.
    It isnt buying a scent, a brand name or a logo, it is buying a symbol of society.

    The average person doesnt know about the more "unique" fragrances. He goes to any big department stores and checks what is in and popular; after all if it is popular it means it is liked by many.

    When it is winter it will be the same story, only with a replacement of the sport fragrances trend.

    Somehow sport fragrances became popular this summer, and the rest of the companies are just riding the trend.


    sorry if i dont make much sense lol i wrote this after a good night at the bars

  5. #5
    Sugandaraja's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I have no clue. I entered the fragrance hobby through an odd angle and have only become more estranged from the public taste as time has passed. I have no idea what a person outside this hobby wants in a fragrance, as when I wasn't a fragrance hobbiest, I had no interest.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Hard to know for sure. People buy for a variety of reasons.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    not all are as obssesed as we are. people are ok with smelling good and happy as opposed to smelling nostalic and or like patchouli.

    actually, i always end up complimenting my freinds who wear a adidas or Puma edt.

  8. #8
    Oaksbluff's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    for me, just satisfaction
    Last edited by Oaksbluff; 3rd June 2010 at 01:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Master-Classter's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I think the average person doesn't really know what they're looking at, nor do they particularly care. They're looking for a rush of buying something new, buying into a brand/lifestyle, having something that makes them smell nice/being attractive, etc. I don't think they really know or care about the differences and just smell a few, find something that they like or they think others will and get it and move on with life.
    NEW STUFF FOR SALE - TOM FORD, Guerlain, Acqua Di Parma, Serge Lutens, Byredo, Diptyque, etc. .

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

  10. #10
    Buzzlepuff's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I definitely agree that how good the fragrance smell plays a small role in the buying decisions at most department store fragrance counters.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Some simply buy the latest from their favorite brands. Others who are less certain might be sold a fragrance by a persuasive SA. Many retailers stock fragrances based on brand recognition and sales history.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Fragrance is associated to the fashion industry which presents products in "seasons." Wearing the latest product becomes a status symbol while the past seasons are mostly considered "expired." Hence, many people often go for the latest fragrance when they are not specifically into it.

  13. #13
    Tarheel Golfer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I think Master-Classter pretty much nailed it. We are a bit jaded here on Basenotes, and with all of our knowledge sharing have a much different perspective on what a "good" fragrance is.

    To the casual department store buyer I'm sure these fragrances you mention actually smell really good. They have no idea there is a bigger/better fragrance world out there (and possibly don't care). It was that way for me before I discovered Basenotes and fell down this rabbit hole.

  14. #14
    CanwllCorfe's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I think for the most part the average buyer will more than likely just go for what's familiar. That is unless the SA is peddling something new or they see some big ad when they walk in and it looks good. With such a big selection to choose from it's almost impossible to know where to start and even if they ask the SA for help they'll probably just try and sell whatever is new or whatever is "featured" at the time. Even if they have an idea of what they want it's hard to articulate when you don't know much of anything about fragrances. Back when I was younger and I was interested in them I'd just go for the cool looking bottles

    But nowadays I just go for whatever fragrances I enjoy. Enjoy may be a bit of understatement.. it has to be well made, not get old after a couple of samplings, and do a job that no other fragrance in my wardrobe does. Or if it does, then it must do it better.
    Last edited by CanwllCorfe; 3rd June 2010 at 04:23 PM.
    “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
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  15. #15
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    why do they buy bad fragrances? disconnection (from themselves), depression, insanity. needing to be a part of the group.

    no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the american public...........
    Last edited by pluran; 4th June 2010 at 04:42 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    IMO, these days most of the department store fragrances are lazy designs, designed for people with lazy tastes.
    I buy things based exclusively on how they smell to me. My tastes are slightly idiosyncratic and there fore hard to pin down. I like uncluttered, clear accords, done with high quality ingredients, patchouli and amber bases, animalic is always a plus. I have little interest in aquatics. I do not like the smell of melon either.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Why do people eat at McDonald's? It isn't gourmet fare, but it's readily available and a cheap fast meal. And some folks like the taste of their burgers.

    Same goes for the fragrances you referenced. They're more readily available than Lutens, Malle, Tauer (etc.) ; cheaper for sure, and-- yes-- some people will genuinely like the fragrance.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    Why do people eat at McDonald's? It isn't gourmet fare, but it's readily available and a cheap fast meal. And some folks like the taste of their burgers.

    Same goes for the fragrances you referenced. They're more readily available than Lutens, Malle, Tauer (etc.) ; cheaper for sure, and-- yes-- some people will genuinely like the fragrance.
    Exactly.

    If you eat at McDonalds and similar places and cook (and I use the word "cook" loosely here) using preprocessed crap, that's what your tastebuds get attuned to. This is what you'll appreciate and crave until you start changing your diet and reprogram yourself.

    Same thing with fragrance, you learn what to expect and to appreciate it. If you're never exposed to finer things and learn to appreciate them, you really don't know what you're missing. And you probably won't be too unhappy about it either.

    You know what? Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. It's like we're all being drilled into wannabe connoiseur consumers of chocolate, wine, tailoring, fragrance, sneakers, t-shirts, tea, shoes, you name it, constantly falling for the latest hyped up brands.
    Last edited by tott; 3rd June 2010 at 07:51 PM.

  19. #19
    Tarheel Golfer's Avatar
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    Why do people eat at McDonald's? It isn't gourmet fare, but it's readily available and a cheap fast meal. And some folks like the taste of their burgers.

    Same goes for the fragrances you referenced. They're more readily available than Lutens, Malle, Tauer (etc.) ; cheaper for sure, and-- yes-- some people will genuinely like the fragrance.
    Well said.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    It seems to me that consumers have been whipped into the concept that scent is either "good" or "bad", by media and advertisers goading them to relate to scent as a form of fashion. New scent good, old scent bad!

    Most people are drones, can not think outside the box, and in fact, don't even SEE that there IS a box, so its not surprizing that most are groping for social acceptance through a perfume, as someone mentioned, instead of honing pleasure, knowledge and health from them. A very small percentage of humans out there, like Basenoters, know there is so very much more in the multitudes of scent out there to enhance their lives. They don't necessarily have to go to a department store to enrich their senses of smell. But sadly, most do.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I don't really think it's fair for a BNer to claim that all of those fragrances don't smell good, and then wonder why anyone would buy them. People on these boards have far more discerning noses than the average consumer. We look for complexity and quality, whereas most people couldn't possibly tell the difference in quality between a high-end scent and a low-end scent. Something smelling good vs. smelling bad is a far easier defining quality for most people to grasp.
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  22. #22

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlepuff View Post
    Strolling through my local dept. store today I realized that there are hundreds of fragrances that I would not even call average - based purely on the way the scent smells. But, the retailer continues to buy these generic, lifeless, synthetic "sport" wanna be flankers to very average fragrances. You can walk past legions of Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Nautica's, Ralph Lauren, and Ed Hardy fragrance tries without seeing a really good fragrance at all.

    Surely people are buying these fragrances otherwise how could they continue to hold down the space on the fragrance shelves. But why do they buy them? It can not be the smell, so it must something else!?

    Why are people purchasing fragrances nowadays? Is it the bottle?, the marketing image?, the topnotes designed thrill for now and leave me later.
    I think most scents are made to sell on the top notes, when the casual perfume user sniffs it in the store. I think most casual users buy scent as a projection of themselves, which is why designer scents sell so well.

    I also agree with the "new, new" hypothesis by DustB. People always want the latest and greatest what-have-you.

    Quote Originally Posted by tott View Post
    You know what? Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. It's like we're all being drilled into wannabe connoiseur consumers of chocolate, wine, tailoring, fragrance, sneakers, t-shirts, tea, shoes, you name it, constantly falling for the latest hyped up brands.
    I agree with Tott and Nymphea. Most people will settle for mediocre in everything. "Drones" is an apt word.
    Last edited by Primrose; 3rd June 2010 at 08:22 PM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I don't think our problem is the scents in question smell bad. "Bad" is relative. Dog crap smells bad. Rotten cabbage smells bad. Cheap fragrances do not smell bad. In fact, I'd say they smell pretty good on the overall spectrum, which is all most people are after. We rip them apart because they're lazy copies of each other, which, in BNland, is a valid complaint. Most people wouldn't notice this, and are just buying the image anyway.

    If 80% of all mass market fragrances smelled like Santal Noble, we would moan about it and call Ed Hardy a work of genius for breaking the mold.

    [/cynicism]
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 3rd June 2010 at 09:45 PM.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  24. #24

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by LiveJazz View Post
    I don't think our problem is the scents in questions smell bad. "Bad" is relative. Dog crap smells bad. Rotten cabbage smells bad. Cheap fragrances do not smell bad. In fact, I'd say they smell pretty good on the overall spectrum, which is all most people are after. We rip them apart because they're lazy copies of each other, which, in BNland, is a valid complaint. Most people wouldn't notice this, and are just buying the image anyway.

    If 80% of all mass market fragrances smelled like Santal Noble, we would moan about it and call Ed Hardy a work of genius for breaking the mold.

    [/cynicism]
    I doubt if the pedestrian scent buyer would drop his well-earned money for a bottle of MKK or Secretions Magnifique. I think the average buyer is not interested unique scents, only to smell "pleasant" in a common way.

    I think many of us observed "commonplace," but I would also add "non-controvesial," as well. Most people want conformity.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  25. #25

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    People, let's not forget ignorance.

    I don't mean this in a perjorative way, I mean simple lack of knowledge. Before I stumbled upon niche perfumery, I hadn't bought a new fragrance in years. Years. I wanted to. I really did. Every time I was near a perfume counter or an essential oils display or on trips abroad I'd sniff and sample and sniff. And usually leave empty-handed and fed up. Just kept using my vintage (often inherited) perfumes.

    Remember, we are all of us inundated by mass marketing of mass products. Almost exclusively. And hey, what goes for perfumes also applies to everything else: good food, wine, clothes, ethics, values, politics... (lol) Sadly, unless a body knows a body who happens to be a perfumista, or chances upon a book that piques their interest or (yes! nowadays) reads a Chandler Burr column...just how are mainstream folks to discover niche perfumes? How did YOU???
    I am operating within established parameters. How are you?

  26. #26

    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I think that the vast majority of people have very little awareness that there are fragrance options available outside the normal mall or High Street fare.

    Also you have to bear in mind that to most people, spending the amount of money many of us here do on fragrance is utterly incomprehensible.

    I think also, that most people, as others have remarked, buy on top notes off paper strips or they are content to just smell "nice".

    I on the other hand am obsessed with finding hard to get fragrances. Most new releases leave me cold, but it's remarkable how the marketing machine can persuade people that utter garbage like Gucci by Gucci pour Homme Sport is a "must have" fragrance.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  27. #27

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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    What difference does it make? If people buy a fragrance, they buy a fragrance, for whatever reason they choose.

    You don't have to like fragrances that other people buy, but they can.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    I think everyone here is raising valid points.

    Really, I think most guys buy a scent to (#1) makes girls think they smell good and (#2) cover it up when they re-wear dirty clothes or skip a shower (if we're being perfectly honest here).

    As LiveJazz said, all the scents at the mall smell "good", as compared to BO or dog crap or something. When it comes to picking a specific scent, I think most guys go with a combination of familiarity (oh, they have Polo Ralph Lauren - I used to have a bottle of that), brand identity (hey - this one has Ed Hardy designs on it!), or the desire to own a little bit of something that - other than scents - would be above their price range (Wow - it's Gucci, and it's $20 at Marshals!)

    My boss, for example, makes a big deal out of it when he buys a new cologne. He'll go to the mall and spend hours sniffing everything available, looking for that perfect something that speaks to him, just like a BNer. But he just doesn't know that there are better options or understand what's driving his opinions, and ends up influenced by everything listed here. His last purchase, made after putting a lot of time and consideration in it, was A&F Fierce, because it felt "familiar". I didn't have the heart to tell him that's because they spray it in the A&F stores and the whole mall reeks of it...
    Has everyone checked out my Top 100 Blog??

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    I think everyone here is raising valid points.

    Really, I think most guys buy a scent to (#1) makes girls think they smell good and (#2) cover it up when they re-wear dirty clothes or skip a shower (if we're being perfectly honest here).

    As LiveJazz said, all the scents at the mall smell "good", as compared to BO or dog crap or something. When it comes to picking a specific scent, I think most guys go with a combination of familiarity (oh, they have Polo Ralph Lauren - I used to have a bottle of that), brand identity (hey - this one has Ed Hardy designs on it!), or the desire to own a little bit of something that - other than scents - would be above their price range (Wow - it's Gucci, and it's $20 at Marshals!)

    My boss, for example, makes a big deal out of it when he buys a new cologne. He'll go to the mall and spend hours sniffing everything available, looking for that perfect something that speaks to him, just like a BNer. But he just doesn't know that there are better options or understand what's driving his opinions, and ends up influenced by everything listed here. His last purchase, made after putting a lot of time and consideration in it, was A&F Fierce, because it felt "familiar". I didn't have the heart to tell him that's because they spray it in the A&F stores and the whole mall reeks of it...
    Nice...pretty well sumarizes a lot. LOVE that AF Fierce "felt familiar" to him. Made me laugh.

    I am always amused with how members of a given forum can become appalled at how little thought other people put into purchases in that area of interest. I belong to a shaving forum where men are appalled that anyone would shave with canned shaving foam (aka "goo") - which is probably what 90% of the men in here use. Don't even think of mentioning an electric razor...
    Last edited by StylinLA; 4th June 2010 at 01:55 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    people are looking for what gets them the most girls. problem solved.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    Before I developed the concept of a "wardrobe" (pre-Basenotes as it were), I used to only have one or two frags at time. When I would go out to purchase a new frag it was with the idea of updating my scent.

    My routine at the time was to tell the SA that i was looking for something new and to ask for suggestions. I would then try 3 - 5 new scents and pick one based purely on the top notes (which I didn't know I was doing at the time). After that I would walk away blissfully ignorant and spray away until I thought I was getting out-of-date.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    People in America are just looking to smell "clean". Anything with a blue or green or clear bottle, anything with "fresh" or "sport" or "blue" in the name, is good enough.

    That's why I want to visit France for at least a month. I have a feeling I wouldn't want to leave. Between the french perfumes and the sexy French accent, I doubt I'd want to leave. They don't want to smell clean over there. Clean is waaaaay beneath the French.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: What are people really looking for when they buy a new fragrance?

    ^^^^ I loved that line about "it smells like a woman who neglects herself"
    NEW STUFF FOR SALE - TOM FORD, Guerlain, Acqua Di Parma, Serge Lutens, Byredo, Diptyque, etc. .

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

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