Mass trades fragrance for bath scents

Is the smell of money in the air for the fragrance market? Perhaps.

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

Still rebounding from declines suffered during the recession, the fragrance market is poised for growth through 2018. However, research by Mintel cautions that the mass fragrance market will likely continue to struggle as prestige or niche scents drive growth.

Echoing the sentiment, data provided by IRI shows that sales of women’s fragrances declined nearly 6%, and men’s cologne declined nearly 7% during the 52 weeks ended Dec. 1, 2013, at total U.S. multi-outlets.

There are likely several reasons for the decline at mass. Aside from economic conditions and market saturation, the fragrance market at mass also is reeling from the influx of scented bath and body products like body spray, scented lotions and shower gels. While these products may not fall within the traditional fragrance category, scent is one of the key drivers for use. In fact, IRI data indicates that sales of men’s body mist rose about 2% during the 52-week period, with Unilever’s Axe brand taking the lead.

The good news is that the interest in fragrance remains strong, and those manufacturers and retailers who embrace new forms, benefits, packaging and retailing stand to benefit.

Mintel research found interest in:

  • Fragrance box subscriptions: This can be a great way for consumers to easily get a variety of scents;
  • Refillable packaging: This was found to be especially popular among young women looking to save money and be environmentally conscious;
  • Customized packaging: This option enables the users to reflect their own sense of style, potentially building stronger brand loyalty;
  • In-store education classes; and
  • Fragrances that can be sprayed on clothing or other fabric.

“New innovations give retailers the opportunity to rethink merchandising, particularly in the struggling mass fragrance market. Finally, smaller-sized and other formats, such as gels and solids, could carve out opportunities to attract more budget-conscious consumers who may not be able, or willing, to splurge on full-sized products,” Mintel noted.

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