NPD Group: Growth in men's fragrance sales fueled by larger sizes, gift sets

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Sales of U.S. prestige men’s fragrances are on the rise, according to recent research by global information company The NPD Group.

Sales of U.S. prestige men’s fragrance increased 6% to $953 million, from May 2012 to April 2013, compared with the same time period last year, according to The NPD Group’s U.S. fragrance industry.

The 2013 Men’s FragranceTrack study by The NPD Group indicates that 63% of adult males ages 18 years to 64 years wear fragrance at least occasionally, with 23% indicating they use it all of the time, and 40% of men who wear a scent have just one bottle at home that they use. Conversely, nearly 40% of males ages 18 years to 64 years never use fragrance.

“Men are creatures of habit when it comes to their scent selection, remaining loyal to what they know and like,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for The NPD Group. “While they are driven primarily by practical factors, and are less focused on choosing scents because of an emotional appeal, such as being memorable, romantic or different, men’s fragrance decisions are heavily influenced by the key people in their lives.”

Seventy-two percent of adult male fragrance wearers started using fragrance when they were 17 years old or younger. Almost 40% of male teen fragrance wearers, ages 13 years to 17 years, were influenced by their fathers to wear fragrance, and even more chose to wear a fragrance to impress a girl.

Among male adults, when choosing a scent, the most important factor was that a woman/partner liked it. Men also shop for a long-lasting fragrance that can be worn every day and for all occasions. "Clean," "masculine" and "fresh" round out the attributes cited among the most important to men when selecting a fragrance.

Out of those men that made a fragrance purchase in the past year, 25% purchased a pre-packaged gift set as a result of the perceived value, and the ancillaries included in the set. Larger fragrance sizes present a value proposition as well. Unit sales of men’s fragrance, in sizes 6.7 oz. and up, increased 12% from May 2012 to April 2013 compared with the previous year. These larger sizes represented more than 6% of dollar sales during the same timeframe.

“Men, and those who purchase fragrance for them, are spending 4% more on fragrances than they did a year ago, specifically on more expensive gift sets, and on larger size bottles. With a quarter of adult men who wear fragrance saying that they never purchase it for themselves, fragrance becomes the perfect, low-stress gift for the man in your life. His scent selections don’t vary much, his requirements are generally basic, and if you like it, it is almost certain he will like it,“ Grant stated.

“The drivers behind men’s fragrance decisions are not complicated, but they are specific, and reaching the male fragrance consumer is as much about reaching the people around him as connecting with the man himself,” Grant added.

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