Fragrant Times In Europe

By Katie Middleweek, European Cosmetic Markets | April 30, 2012

It is fair to say that the Big 5 has experienced a fragrant year in the past 12 months with all countries reporting a rise in value sales, which is extremely encouraging indeed. Women’s fragrances have always been a popular channel, and one prone to keeping its sales levels high even during an economic downturn, which always bodes well for any category.

Fragrant in France
According to NPD the selective women’s fragrance market in France grew by 3.5% in 2011, although volume growth was just 0.4%. Looking at the mass market, sales of EDT and EDP products through the mass market also grew by 3.7% to $68.4 million while sales of women’s fragrance gift sets jumped 27.5%. And according to Mintel, the French women’s fragrance market was worth $1.8 billion last year, with many claiming that it is by far the most lucrative fragrance market of all of the Big 5 countries.

The return of the floral segment for fragrances has been strong in France in the past year and also seems to have piqued the interest of niche brands. The French press has been raving about Trompe L’Oeil by Six Scents, Series 3 No. 2, a compilation of neroli, mimosa, rose and tuberose on a warm vanilla base, and Clemency by Humiecki & Graef, featuring rose, linden blossom, cassis, milk, sandalwood and leather.

Meanwhile, the king of niche brands, Serge Lutens, has also turned to florals for his latest creation, Vitriol d’Oeillet, which translates as “angry carnation.” It features spicy notes, including cayenne, black pepper, pink pepper, nutmeg and clove, and is described as slightly powdery.

According to industry insiders, Serge Lutens is much more than just a niche brand; however, it is available within classic distribution yet successfully adopts the niche attitude and has carefully built up a cult reputation over time.

Scent Ascent
The German women’s fragrance market has also been in the ascendant in the past year with value growth of 5.7% in value terms to $1.5 million, according to SymphonyIRI Germany. Volume growth matched that entirely, also seeing a rise of 5.7% to 52 million units. Singular bottles of fragrance have also see value growth, boosted by 6% in the past year to $1.17 billion and women’s fragrance sets rose by an impressive 9.1% to $221.8 million. Although, fragranced body care sets did see a drop in sales of 0.5% to $153.4 million.

In terms of retail channels popular with German consumers, the perfumery was the most popular place to part with their hard earned euros, accounting for $1 billion in sales, which represented a 5.4% increase in the past year.

Smelling Sweeter
Italian fragrance sales inched up 1.6% to $1.3 billion overall, according to newly released figures by industry body Unipro. Unsurprisingly the women’s fragrance market continues to dominate by far, accounting for $799.5 million worth of sales compared to that of $504.6 million for men. And like in Germany, it was the perfumery channel that scored big on the sales front, ringing up nearly $1.1 billion worth of sales through its tills, across both male and female sales.

In terms of NPD activity, there was much to whet the appetites of Italian consumers. Popular domestic brand Collistar launched its first women’s fragrance, Profumo della Felicità, Body Aromatic Water, entitled as an ode to the femininity and the joy of living life in all its fullness. Top fresh notes of grapefruit and mandarin join the heart of lotus flower, velvety tones of peony are illuminated by pink pepper and red currant. The base contains the seductive notes of osmanthus and the refinement of vetiver and musk. The formula is further enhanced with the beneficial softening and toning effects of orange blossom and passion fruit extracts, according to Collistar.

A summer fragrance, Profumo della Felicità is described as cheerful and lively and enriched with euphonizing essential oils and Mediterranean extracts that make it a real beauty treatment for the body and a well-being ritual for the spirit. Created by perfumer Nathalie Lorson, she describes her perfume style as harmonious and generous, characteristics that she wants to show in her choice of raw materials for this scent.

A Blooming Year
The Spanish women’s fragrance market has also had a fruitful year with SymphonyIRI Spain reporting that sales here rose 5% to $151 million while for the same period volume sales rose by 6.6% to about 1 million units. Unlike other European countries, volume sales of fragrances purchased through the mass market (namely supermarkets and hypermarkets) are on the rise, with volume sales here growing by a healthy 13% to 692,000 units as sales here rose by 10% to $95 million. Private label fragrances also recorded 22% growth in value terms and 36% in volume terms, during the past year, accounting for just over a fifth of all women’s perfumes sold in Spain.

Spanish consumers are known for their love of variety when it comes to fragrances and there was no shortage of this in the past year, particularly when it came to how the bottle looked on-shelf.

In this vein, Acqua di Parma has revamped the look of its Blu Mediterraneo perfumes with a bottle that is inspired by the cologne’s original Art Deco look. A deep blue bottle is designed to reflect the color of the Italian Mediterranean, while the label uses italic script in a range of colors to go with the five varieties.

Another new look came from Dolce & Gabbana, which has introduced a Lace Edition format as a special version of its The One perfume. The perfume is described as a floriental for a fresh aroma with notes of lychee and peach that are followed by deep aromas of ripe plums and vanilla.

Kenzo, meanwhile, has added a new product to the FlowerbyKenzo stable that is designed to be more for a young urban consumer than its predecessors. Flowertag, which hit shelves in September, is a floral and fruity perfume that is inspired by graffiti art. It comes in an electric red vial that also uses the brands iconic poppy flower image.

Celebrity Scents Sell
According to Kantar Worldpanel, the UK women’s fragrance market has never been in better shape. Latest figures show that the value market here has increased 4.7% to $1.3 billion, while volume also inched up 0.4% to 37.73 million units. Women’s fine fragrance definitely dominates in the UK with an 88.5% share compared to 11.5% for women’s mass market fragrances.

While there are some suggestions that they are slipping down the popularity scale, celebrity fragrances continued to consolidate their foothold in the UK market and delivered notable winners in the past 12 months. Highlights from last year include US singer Katy Perry’s Meow, the follow up to the successful Purr which was released in 2010. Singer Britney Spears launched Cosmic Radiance and Christina Aguilera brought out Secret Potion.

And it looks like the celebrity craze isn’t slowing down. Madonna’s Truth Or Dare is coming to retailers this year, with the hype and publicity already in full swing.

From celebrity scents to fine fragrance favorites, the Big 5’s women’s fragrance market is certainly performing to full capacity. Fragrance is always a favorite with female consumers and it looks like there is no way they will cease their spending just yet, no matter what the economic constraints. In fact, it appears to be a sure fire way to make them feel, and smell, good!

Katie Middleweek
European Cosmetic Markets
Tel: (44) 0207 193 7447
Fax: (44) 20 7549 8622

European Cosmetic Markets is published monthly by HPCi Media Limited. It provides in-depth data and analysis of the European cosmetics and toiletries market. For subscription details contact HPCi Media Limited.