Big Gains in Fragrance For Women in Europe

By Katie Middleweek, Editor, European Cosmetic Markets | May 3, 2011

The women’s fragrance market in the Big 5 had a very successful 2010 with France, Germany, Italy and the UK making gains in value terms. At press time, results from Spain were unavailable. This unequivocal success story is welcome news indeed in a market where products often come at a premium price and where big savings can be made in one fell swoop if people want to economize. This positive activity shows that customers’ faith in the category, and the past year has given them a renewed sense of optimism.

Women will not forego their fragrances even when times are tough as they feel that scent is one luxury that they cannot do without. France, in particular, has a long history with scent, and German consumers are increasingly championing home grown brands. In Italy, fashion and fragrance go hand in hand and there is a close link between the two industries. The UK is often used as a springboard for launches when U.S. brands gauge how well the scents will be received in the rest of Europe.

Fragrance à la France

According to The NPD Group’s latest figures, the French women’s fragrance market has seen overall growth of 4% between 2006-2010 when it came to value sales, totalling nearly $1.6 billion in 2010 alone. On the other hand, volume sales declined 6% over the same period although the total in 2010 was shown to be 22.5 million units, still a respectable figure.

Fine fragrance is still the most popular type of scent in the women’s fragrance market in the country with many French women choosing to spend a good proportion of their fragrance budget on it.

This is a point proven by the fact that the Premium Puig fragrance, Lady Million, has been a best seller in France since it was launched last year. Since it debuted last summer, it now accounts for a 2.6% share of the French women’s fragrance market, which is quite an achievement for just one scent.

At the end of 2010 Lady Million was ranked as the 13th most popular fragrance in the country, and its success has been largely buoyed by its male predecessor, which was also a best seller when it arrived a couple of years earlier.

Spraying at Home

The women’s fragrance market in Germany is also doing well with figures from SymphonyIRI Germany showing that the women’s fragrance market here grew 1.5% to $1.51 billion in 2010. Volume sales were also moving in the right direction, putting on 1% to 51.95 million units.

Although fans of international scents, German customers are increasingly supporting their domestic fragrance sector with top fragrance house Mäurer and Wirtz spearheading this charge with a couple of key scent debuts in the past year.

Firstly, from German fashion house s.Oliver came Superior — which included a scent for men and women. Superior for women is billed as “a self confident and alluring scent composition” and has rich notes of wood with a heart of tangy tangerine, grapefruit and passionfruit and top notes of orchid, freesia and plum. The fragrance is housed in a heavy glass bottle to symbolize opulence and sensuality.

Another scent of note came from Mistral, which rolled out Mistral Female last summer. This scent exudes a top note of fruity bergamot, cassis and grapefruit, with jasmine and rose at the heart and cedarwood and tonka bean at the base.

Perfumery Power

Italy showed even more promise last year as sales rose 3.1% to $757 million, according to Unipro. Perfumery shops accounted for the majority of sales at $655 million, which demonstrates the power of this retail chain in the country. Fashion houses also have a big influence on Italian women’s fragrances choices and brands like Moschino and Gucci sell well here. These are obviously big names but smaller niche brands are also seeing something of a revival.

One brand sold in the popular perfumery channel is the El Charro range of scents, from Capone Prestige. El Charro was quite a big Italian fashion label back in the 1980s before disappearing from the scene in the early 1990s. However, it has made a comeback and the brand debuted El Charro Man and Woman in 2010 in order to tell consumers it was back in business. El Charro Woman is billed as promoting “joy of life and sensuality and giving women the courage to always be themselves.”The scent has fruity flowered top notes, a heart of geranium and sweet amber and a base of patchouli, vetiver and ebony.

Smelling Sweet

Meanwhile, the UK women’s fragrance market came up smelling like roses in 2010 with sales jumping 12.1% to more than $1.4 billion, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel. These are encouraging results from a nation that has the lowest fragrance usage among the Big 5.

Prestige fragrance continued to dominate the UK women’s fragrance sector with an 85% share last year, a growth of 11.3% on 2009. However, there was a fluctuation in growth among mass market female fragrances, which recorded a 17.7% lift, boosting their share of the market to 14%.

In the UK, the long-awaited debut fragrance from Jimmy Choo hit beauty counters in January. The luxury shoe designer’s eponymously named scent, created under license with Inter Parfums, is described as a fruity chypre with warm woody depths. Luminous green top notes blend to a heart composed of tiger orchid, while sweet toffee and patchouli add depth at the base.

And just recently, Estée Lauder brand Jo Malone created a limited edition fragrance collection inspired by tea. The Tea Fragrance Blends range feature three fragrance blends (Assam & Grapefruit, Earl Grey & Cucumber and Fresh Mint Leaf) that can be combined with Sweet Lemon and Sweet Milk in a similar way to how one would blend tea and milk in a teacup.

The British fragrance house also rolled out a limited edition spring scent to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan. Sakura Cherry Blossom blends rose, mimosa, bergamot and mandarin with a base of musk and woods to create a powdery interpretation of cherry blossom.

Fragrance has proved its resilience as marketers roll out an array of scents to tempt consumers, from limited editions and flankers to big new launches.



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