Great article. Thank you for sharing.
Fragrance remains an untrendy gift for American men as they continue to culturally shift away from fragrance purchases. That will help flatten fragrance sales for the first time in four years, according to the NPD Group.
Just 15 percent of American shoppers will purchase a fragrance this holiday, basically unchanged from 2012. But sales to men continue their gradual decline, particularly as those 18-34 continue to lose interest in the prestige fragrance category in favor of basic body washes and supermarket scents.
Euromonitor seems to agree, noting sales are expected to be just 0.2% higher this year over last.
While American women are continuing to drift more down market, especially seeking out celebrity-endorsed, value-priced fragrances, European shoppers are embracing a category of fragrances barely known outside of perfume aficionado circles.
"Niche continues to be a major growth segment in the European market," reports Euromonitor.
For shoppers looking for higher-end fragrances, much of the growth in the prestige fragrance category—sales logged primarily in department stores—is now coming from Demeter Fragrance, including their popular Library's Oud, and a range of scents from Jo Malone and Tom Ford.
The average fragrance shopper in Europe is now older and a more sophisticated shopper with money to spend. The highest growth will come from fragrances in the $250US category in Europe, according to Euromonitor. More mainstream scents expected to do well are Bond No. 9, Estée Lauder's Modern Muse and Coty's Marc Jacobs Honey.
Americans are still flocking to celebrity perfumes, especially scents from Rihanna, One Direction and Taylor Swift this holiday season. Europeans don't care to smell like a pop star, and this category continues sales declines across Europe.
A breakdown from popular retailers:
Bloomingdale's, Sephora and Saks all listed fragrance as one of their top areas of focus for the season, with Bloomingdale's calling out its Tory Burch fragrance exclusive; Sephora its multibranded fragrance samplers; and Saks its mini-fragrance collections and fragrance sets, including Carven and Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb.
Total prestige fragrance sales have reached more than $3 billion.
Still, regardless of its volume, it's evident that fragrance doesn't have the same stronghold on consumers that it once did.
Amanda Ripley, 26, said she is considering making a beauty purchase for her mother or younger sister this holiday, but will likely steer toward moisturizers or hand creams. Similarly, she said would rather not receive perfume because she typically doesn't wear it.
"I think I would rather get makeup or something like that," she said.
-- Condensed from NPD, Euromonitor, CNBC, and international media reports....
Great article. Thank you for sharing.
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
Two things I find especially interesting in this article: a major growth of the niche segment in Europe unlike in the US and that Europeans don't care to smell like a pop star. making this category continue to decline in sales across Europe. Can definitely relate to their feelings in that regard.
Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.
Most of us are living check to check and barely surviving..
Most of us go to Walgreens and CVS and see the celeb scents and get one whiff and buy it..
Most of us don't care about the new Slumberhouse scent or what's next from CDG..
Most Americans are not Basenoters..
I can definitely see Modern Muse taking off - that's a very solid fragrance for EL. If they ever make a men's match to it, I might be tempted. I was surprised that they mentioned Bond in the same sentence. That is very niche - but they do have two more mainstream entries recently, so maybe I can see it.
When I buy a fragrance anymore, the first questions I ask myself: Will I be able to re-sell it if I need to? Will it hold its value? Will it "go vintage"?
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India was, in all likelihood, the cradle of fragrance as a processed consumable. If people stop wearing fragrance in India, I think I'll move to Mars, cuz something will sure be wrong with Earth.
I find it interesting that I smell more fragrances on guys in Las Vegas, than I do anywhere else in America. Not sure what that means, but it's just one more reason I love Vegas - it's fragrance-friendly.
great article, thanx for sharing!
the golden age of scents ended in the 90's! imo
Last edited by Francolino; 26th November 2013 at 07:45 AM.
Honestly I feel all those IFRA regulations have really strangled the designer fragrance market, so what you end up with are fragrances not far off from Drugstore Axe fragrances of cheap celeb fragrances. So the general US population will go for those Walgreen fragrances. Those with some taste will go for niche or more hard to find designer fragrances which exist in the world of online fragrance stores. 90% of all my fragrance purchases are made online.
The main point I get from this is that most people think fragrances are too friggin' expensive. I agree with that, BTW.
Maybe all we'll be left with is the choice between low end drugstore frags for the mass market and super expensive niche stuff for the diehard aficionados and the wealthy.
In my experience, i notice less people wearing perfume for the same reason they drive a hybrid auto. I was told once i was "polluting the air we have to share". That ended very badly for the person that made the comment, but thats a different discussion.
In the USA there is a different atmosphere that is creeping up over feelings of the past. I feel like the gentleman is dying.
We're left with the jersey shore guy that will wear 1Million everyday, and the hipster that wears nothing because its "green and organic".
It's a very sad state of affairs. That's how i see it anyway.
Very interesting article! Thank you for sharing.
I actually debated on buying fragrance sets for my entire family, cuz they always compliment me about smelling good.
BTW, $250 for a fragrance? NO.
Perhaps another Gibbon is already contemplating the writing of The Decline and Fall of the Fragrant Empire
we have seen the enemy...and he is us.-Pogo
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Eager to read that...
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Axe and Old Spice succesful? Indeed, and globally - Axe in these shores. Plus, they are fleeting scents: I had the chance of researching this and most respondents don't like silage and longevity, except for some of the "Jersey Shore" kind.
Plus, Axe has a policy replicating best sellers. So, basically, consumers are getting what they want: smelling good after a shower without suffocating those around them nor being noticed for their scents. Why paying USD 70 when you can get a good quality scent (in their own terms) for much less? Yes, I know, expensive if you take the quantity / price ratio, but for consumers the end price is what it counts because it is the only way to afford goods, plus the value assigned to it will justify the price, regardles of the before mentioned ratio.
On the other hand, wearers can feel the difference between a good and a low quality scent, but for those around him / her, they will identify the most common one without much ado as to subtleties: I wore a cheapy once done after the XS / Platinum Egöiste style and I was highly complimented for wearing Burberry for Men.
One more point: as aroma chemicals get cheaper, the more scents are launched into the market. I personally find the amount of scents in the market is overwhelming. Who needs so many? So much variety increases costs (which is not limited to price), for consumer will have to think hard before making up their minds: basically, more time searching for information before a purchase decision is made.
Do an experiment: pretend you are a new BNoter looking for a cologne, post a question, wait for aswers, and see if these helped in order to make up your mind. In most instances, it adds to confusion; very few times OPs will get clear answers (no criticism intended, just to make my point as to an excessive supply - read the thread on "What should I expect from Mugler's A * Men Leather" as an example, and do take in mind this is abut one).
At least, that is what I got from my first post in BN,a request for a suggestion on a classic English-style scent. I got many, so many, I ended up confused. Finally, Wify bought one that wasn't mentioned: C&V's Sienna
Dampier, thanks for the article. Darn good article.
Last edited by Pollux; 26th November 2013 at 01:48 PM.
Could it be that consumers have figured out that most modern fragrances sold in department stores just aren't any good? Where's the creativity? Where are the bold new statements? It's kind of like what's happened in the music industry. Corporate bean counters and marketng people have taken over, and the resulting output is all bland, safe and boring. No wonder nobody wants it. The companies behind thiese decisions blame "changing conusumer tastes." Of course they do. Marketing and PR people never admit "we screwed up." Consumers are voting with their dollars. They're either moving on to "cheap stuff I can afford" or high-end investment pieces, the last refuge of creativity in fragrance. What's left is a scorched earth middle ground where reasonably high quality designer fragrances used to reside. The latest bland, "fresh" molecules du jour are a fine choice when visiting the hollowed out wasteland of corporate culture, I guess.
Very informative article. Thanks!
Interesting read. Most Americans I know do not wear fragrances, men or women. Once in a long while I get a whiff in the crowds and I'm thrilled.
Very interesting , great share.....Cheerios
"Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "
Like the rest of you, cologne is a big part of my personal enjoyment of life. Something that is mostly just for my benefit. I'd hate to think of life without it...would be so BLAND. So at least I will support this segment of the economy, even if sales keep sliding, as long as I am fiscally able. Love my scents!
I do think people have made some decisions about living simpler lives in the USA, much out of financial necessity and also the "green" movement. Choices got real in a hurry with the recession, and some spending patterns were permanately altered. I can respect that.
I also agree with the poster that said that cologne usage among males probably peaked in the 90's. There was a time I could tell you the scent choice of nearly every adult male I knew. Not now.
This article made me sad.....and I miss Vegas.
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The US culture doesn't place importance on scents, and is actually pretty clinical in its seeking of sanitized and unscented venues. People don't have much disposable income to waste on something actually frowned upon. People worry about allergies and offense. And increasing options in a decision makes people less likely to choose anything, as found in multiple test trials from free samples at the grocery store to strategic options decided on by C-level staff. The status quo ends up winning if making a new choice becomes difficult or confusing. Plus, all the variety increases manufacturing and holding costs for a business, driving selling price up.
Not recognizing what people want and don't want, making it harder for them to choose, and increasing their costs... terrible business recipe.
And this is a product sector where there isn't much help from the advocating consumer community. At least here on an enthusiast site, they will inundate new inquiries with overwhelming options priced out of their comfort zone, all based on a theory that a new buyer doesn't know what's good for them. The possible, but not guaranteed, reaction could be a sense of insulting and confusing some while telling them they are being cheap and common. Also a terrible recipe for expanding the market, and it plagues many specialty sites for aficionados. Though it isn't so terrible that memberships cannot grow, it just doesn't have too measurable an impact on the whole industry (unless BN and fragrantica provides a statistically significant contribution to the >$25 billion dollar fragrance industry)
The Bark Bites Back on film here --> https://thebarkbitesback.wordpress.com
Maybe bros did stock up on panty droppers last year.
Thanks for the article it was very informative. Also, some great perspectives on here from all members. I understand the downtrodden economy and most jobs that have came back are lower based and with fewer perks & benefits. So the trends will sadly continue on a downtrend for most US men as far as the eye can see in fragrance purchases as these are mostly seen as a luxury and not a need.
I am very thankful at this point in time I can dip into the market and discover a few gems here and there trying to be conscious of not over doing it so fast as to burn out with to many choices. I have a set limit in mind and will cull only if and when I feel I have over extended that limit. I like prior threads on this in the past as others keep a keen perspective on things and I second that notion.
I have developed an appetite for mostly niche offerings and thoroughly enjoy them. So I understand the Euro motivation.
Interesting article. Thanks.
If any good comes out of this, I'm hoping it'd be that fragrance prices would stop increasing. Houses like Creed and Tom Ford keep increasing their prices every year; I'm wondering if we will see an end to that any time soon. Creed just recently increased the price of their Royal Exclusives.