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  1. #31
    Dependent danieq's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    My personal experience says that the reason Americans aren't buying a lot of fragrance is that in every crowd you will be in, there will be at least 4 people who will complain of allergy/headache induced by scent. Therefore, in a society that avoids offense in every possible sense as something nearing 'hate crime', people stop wearing it.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    I think there are a number of factors at work in all this.

    First, the U.S. culture shift. I'd guess the majority of men I know to wear fragrance either bought it to go out on a date, was given the scent by a girlfriend or possibly a relative for Christmas, or are metrosexual (or at least comfortable enough to walk into the "Beauty" department of a major department store, and even ask for help.)

    There is a real apprehension among a lot of younger guys that feel their masculinity challenged when visiting the fragrance counter and asking to sample a scent. "Guys just don't do that," especially if they are shopping in a group say female sales associates I've asked in the past, unless they are angling for a date with the SA. Girls will without a second thought.

    Now at the risk of stereotyping, and I don't mean to do that, I have noticed this apprehension does not exist with Latin American guys, who I've watched scour the fragrance sections at department stores and discounters. They are often informed about different basic scent groups, although not necessarily certain of what individual fragrances fit into which group. So I've heard conversations about choosing scents based on phrases like "that's a clean one," or "you'll get noticed wearing that," or "this would be good to wear at church/party/event." Plus they know that Beverly Hills Polo Club scents at TJMaxx are "trash."

    Older men will often shop confidently, although many that don't know any better end up spraying a litany of testers on themselves resulting in a fragrance cacophony. One SA who worked for a regional department store told me stories about one strange man who insisted on spraying testers into his mouth. He was a legend and many fragrance counters experienced his "testing" until he suddenly disappeared.

    Notice how marketers have adapted to the culture shift. "Axe will get you laid" is the basic premise of this scent in North America. Adidas makes you feel sporty and active.

    European houses will put airbrushed hairless male models wearing next to nothing lying all over the place to sell to men. Americans will put the youth-targeted scents with an average teen or 20-something geek next to a babe and suggest with one spray, you can do anything you want with her. It's far more direct: A will get B if they use C. I'm sure most Europeans don't think if they spray Le Male, they will suddenly transform into a ripped male model in a sailor suit.

    Notice the expanding line from Old Spice with names that conjure up dark folklore, creatures of the night, and fantasy icons. It's not your dad's scent anymore. The marketers are selling the imagery as much, if not more than the scent.

    The celebutard fragrance lines are another example of how marketers are getting around the disinterest most Americans have in fragrances by marketing the celebrity, not the scent. Unless it smells intolerably bad, the celebrity endorsement is what pulls the buyer towards the product. If one associates with or likes that celebrity, the shopper might assume if the celebrity endorsed it and wears it, they can show their support by wearing it too. Marketers know this because the dirty little secret they don't dare to mention is that scents associated with African-American celebrities sell much higher among African-Americans than, say, something from David Beckham or Paris Hilton. Notice the scent itself barely matters. Most general retailers don't have room for testers anyway or they disappear, so a ton of sales are blind buys.

    So this is why there is a big disconnect. The mainstream fragrances these days are celebrity-endorsed or value-priced items with names like Nautica. Slightly more upscale mall stores mass-market scents that are safe sells, hence Acqua di Gio. Niche is not going to turn up a whole lot at Macy's and most guys cringe walking into Sephora or a Guerlain store. Even Yankee Candle is threatening to a lot of guys.

    Once you are willing to commit more than $100 on a bottle of fragrance, you are either filthy rich and don't care about money or you are a real devotee. There are fragrance houses committed to selling to both. Based on the various threads here, the one that comes to mind the most for succeeding in that department is Creed, which has its vocal critics and fans.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by danieq View Post
    My personal experience says that the reason Americans aren't buying a lot of fragrance is that in every crowd you will be in, there will be at least 4 people who will complain of allergy/headache induced by scent. Therefore, in a society that avoids offense in every possible sense as something nearing 'hate crime', people stop wearing it.
    Very valid point. A lady in our choir at church acts like she's having a heart attack if she can smell cologne/perfume coming off anyone. I actually tone down my selection just out of the fear of offending her. But I'm considerate. Good lady, but way too sensitive, and very opinionated to boot.
    Currently wearing: Sauvage by Christian Dior

  4. #34

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Most American males that I know wear fragrances, however, they do not wear them every day. Instead most American males, around my age (25-30 yrs old) at least, choose to wear fragrances on special occasions and/or a night out (usually in hopes to attract the opposite...or same sex.)

    Very different for women here in the states...I know many many women of all ages wear fragrances on an every day basis. Several women I know have 10+ fragrances...I don't know any males outside of Basenotes that have more than 3.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    There may also be the factor of designer houses losing relevance. Brands can still be important for clothing, but in a different way, a way that classic and couture don't matter. Fierce is a legit challenge to Platinum Egoiste because Chanel is no more important than A&F to the average consumer.

  6. #36

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Thanks for the article. Interesting read.

  7. #37

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Just go to any major metropolitan center in the US and look around. You will see a large mix from ethnicities, most of whom are not culturally given to perfume. Or the men anyway; you will find women from all corners of the globe in the fragrance section.

    On the other hand, mass market fragrances themselves seem to have achieved the status of commercial beauty counter junk designed to rip-off the ladies. Quite frankly -- if it can be found at the drugstore, it's not something special. That goes for Channel, Dior, Paco Rabanne, etc.

    I think we just have to accept it. As long as we can order our elite premium scents online we don't have much to complain about.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Many of the % coupons or BOGO coupons at retail stores don't apply to fragrance purchases. Macy's and Bloomingdale's especially. When money's tight people will find the best price for an item which isn't at a retail store.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    Many of the % coupons or BOGO coupons at retail stores don't apply to fragrance purchases. Macy's and Bloomingdale's especially. When money's tight people will find the best price for an item which isn't at a retail store.
    Good point.
    Currently wearing: Sauvage by Christian Dior

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    So many great points made here.

    What resonates with me is three things:
    1. The economy -- when it's down, people don't take vacations or make expensive purchases. While a fragrance might be a comfort indulgence for women, it is NOT for most men.
    2. Pop culture -- from the looks of advertising and marketing, most male fragrances are being targeted to the younger generation, who are more apt to buy an inexpensive fragrance with a celebrity name on it, as hednic suggested.
    3. Niche frags -- I'd think niche frags would be growing with the female demographic of the population, not necessarily for men. Women may end up buying them for their men, but rarely the other way around (with the exception of men knowing what their women wear and simply buying it for them).


    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    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.
    Agreed.
    Currently wearing: Epic Man by Amouage

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Wow are things and the ecomony so much better in Europe that the biggest scent segment in grown this year is niche at $250 bucks a bottle?! WTF is up with that?!

    I have a sizable collection, but try to only spend between $20-40 bucks per bottle...so I shop around for deals and almost solely order online. I can count on ONE hand how many times I've spend over $50 on a bottle.(and only once over $70) Not because I can't afford to spend more, but because anymore just seems excessive and wasteful for me.
    Currently wearing: Joop! Splash by Joop!

  12. #42
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by bigbz View Post

    I have a sizable collection, but try to only spend between $20-40 bucks per bottle...so I shop around for deals and almost solely order online. I can count on ONE hand how many times I've spend over $50 on a bottle.(and only once over $70) Not because I can't afford to spend more, but because anymore just seems excessive and wasteful for me.
    Indeed. As I have pointed out in previous posts the parallel between the prices on wines somewhat mirrors the prices (and value to price ratio) of fragrances. Based on respected magazines' and newsletters' numerical ratings given to particular selections of vintage wines we can easily see that wines rated in the excellent to exceptional range (usually in the 90s on a 100 point scale) are often relatively inexpensive and easy to find. Wines rated in the 90s for $10 to $25 are definitely available nationally in the USA, as are wines rated similarly though priced as much or more than hundreds of dollars a bottle. At some point it becomes a pissing contest for some to show they can afford to buy the 'superior' (more costly) wines.

    Fragrance is similar. Many fragrances costing less than $30 for a 75 ml bottle and often far, far less that I would rate excellent to exceptional are available both from full retail and grey markets.

    So, are the more expensive highly rated fragrances 'better' than the highly rated 'cheap' frags?

    You be the judge.
    Last edited by kbe; 27th November 2013 at 04:02 AM.
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  13. #43
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by maricle View Post
    There may also be the factor of designer houses losing relevance. Brands can still be important for clothing, but in a different way, a way that classic and couture don't matter. Fierce is a legit challenge to Platinum Egoiste because Chanel is no more important than A&F to the average consumer.
    Agree. Brand equity lost due to ubiquity.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Trendy is fickle. A & F is swirling in the bowl as we speak because, perhaps, the hairless body twink ideal of the American male is finally falling out of favor (along with $60 pants that a Guatemalan worker produced for 85 cents). A & F can talk to The Gap about what it is like to run a mall store that wouldn't draw flies now.

    I was in what is left of Sears yesterday and the are moving those Axe gift scents and "niche" Tim McGraw at a healthy clip. Sears is a happening place. Just consider Khloe & Lamar choose a Sears in Downey, Calif. to launch the highly ironic Unbreakable Love. All went well until Spic 'n Span sued for patent infringement and their love crumbled. Now Big Lots can't even move their stuff.

  15. #45
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    ^ Gonna have to check out Big Lots! I've been playing hard-to-get on all the Unbreakables!

    I was in Target, sniffing what they had, and was surprised by the latest Tim McGraw Soul 2 Soul Vintage - nice stuff. But the real surprise was how good David Beckham Instinct was. I had never bothered to smell it before. I was appropriately stunned. When you can get fairly decent stuff in celebrity scents, unless you REALLY love fragrances, or a certain one that happens to be pricey, or maybe just the idea of getting "the best" (and have the money for it), then it's simply not going to matter.
    * * * *

  16. #46

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Fragrance prices keep climbing. I'm surprised when I see the retail price for designer products at The Bay or Sears.
    My local Winners sell alot of discounted designer fragrances. The turn over is high. Even the lower priced Creeds (GIT, MI, VIW, RW) sell out in a matter of weeks when they are priced right ($125-$150 a bottle).
    Winners is now pushing for higher prices ($200) on the Bond and Creeds and they are not selling very well.
    A few months back Aventus at $200 were gone in days. The latest Aventus are now $250 and have been sitting on the shelf for over a month.

    At the end of the day this is a luxury item.
    We are fortunate to even be here with this interest let alone having the disposable income to consider the start or maintenance of a collection.
    Beauty is in the nose of the beholder.

  17. #47

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Beckham Instinct is a very nice scent. Vetiver heavy and very clean. I gave my bottle to my 17 year old son who wears it fairly often.

    Just don't like Tim McGraw (or his wife). So there's that.
    Currently wearing: Sauvage by Christian Dior

  18. #48

    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Wow very interesting, but I can totally see why. Like others have already said, American people seem to want to just smell good instead of smelling like a particular note.

  19. #49
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    Default Re: Blue Christmas for U.S. Fragrance Sales; Category Staying Flat as Sales to Men Continue Decline

    Quote Originally Posted by ChuckW View Post
    Beckham Instinct is a very nice scent. Vetiver heavy and very clean. I gave my bottle to my 17 year old son who wears it fairly often.

    Just don't like Tim McGraw (or his wife). So there's that.
    I found Instinct really well-balanced, plenty interesting, and just plain good. I think I laughed in the store the moment I smelled it, and people probably thought I was nuts!

    I'm not a huge fan of either Tim or Faith - I find his music enjoyable, but not one of my country faves. Those tend to be obscure, shooting stars, or the "offbeat female vocalist of the year". But McGraw and Hill make a nice royalty couple. On the fragrances, I've liked everything he's fronted EXCEPT for McGraw Silver. YIKES! Not for me.
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