Home fragrance sales remained essentially flat in 2002, however there was a significant shift in category performance, according to Kline & Co.’s Home Fragrances USA 2002 report. Candles and diffusers drove growth in the home fragrance market during the past five years, averaging 14% and 8%, respectively. But Kline reported sales for these stalwarts fizzled in 2002, leaving the top of the market completely flat. “Marketers that were focused only on candles have been forced to expand to other categories in order to compensate for slipping sales,” said Lenka Contreras, group director, Kline’s Consumer Products Practice.
Marketers also expanded their distribution channels beyond specialty stores and outlets to retailers, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond and Linens ‘N Things. Sales of specialty room products and potpourri both rose in 2002, offsetting other home fragrance losses. Room sprays also rebounded, growing 5.6% after two straight years of double-digit declines. This upturn was stimulated by the mass market launches of Glade’s Press ‘N Fresh products and Airwick by Wizard Click spray.
Other promising new products include S.C. Johnson’s Oust air sanitizer, an aerosol that is said to kill 99.9% of odor-causing germs in the air, according to Kline. Early in 2003, Reckitt Benckiser introduced Neutra Air, a similar product sold under the Lysol brand.
“These new product variations blur the line between room sprays and household cleaning products, and we can probably expect to see more products like this that have cleaning benefits and provide room-freshening scents,” Ms. Contreras said.