What's ahead for the spring fragrance season?
Some marketers are launching new scents that play off existing brands and others are adding new sporty varieties. All have different notes, nuances and positioning, however they all have one thing in common: to beat the odds and become the next big seller.
By Christine Canning
O verall sales of women's fine fragrances in U.S. department stores topped $1.4 billion in 1996, according to BeautyTrends, the prestige beauty market tracking division of the NPD Group, Port Washington, NY. Men's sales were $743 million. Globally, sales of fragrances topped $18 billion in 1996, according to Euromonitor, a London market research firm.
Last year at least 144 new fragrances hit the marketplace, according to the Fragrance Foundation. As of early March, the Foundation had tracked just 25 new women's launches and nine men's introductions. Why has the launch pad cooled? One reason may be that the odds are against new fragrances becoming instant big sellers. Last year four of the six were launched in the mid 1980s.
Older scents rule the roost globally, too. According to Euromonitor, Chanel No.5 was the top selling women's scent in the world, with sales of $130 million in 1996. For men, Safari was the top seller last year with sales of $85 million.
So which of the 1996 launches can be considered winners? According to BeautyTrends, the best women's launch of 1996 (based on sales during the first three months after initial launch) was Chanel's Allure. The scent pulled in sales of $10.7 million during its first three months of distribution. Poême followed with $9.1 million while tommy girl, the new scent from Tommy Hilfiger (Estée Lauder), tallied sales of $8.1 million. On the men's side, YSL's long-awaited sequel to Opium led the men's launches. Opium For Men had sales of $4 million during its first three months on the counter. Liz Claiborne's Curve for Men had sales of $3.9 million and Le Male followed with $2.0 million.
Expand the Brand
Even with the odds against them, marketers are adding a number of new scents that will hit the market this spring. To improve their odds for success Avon, Calvin Klein and Revlon will expand their fragrance stables with new scents from existing brands or designers.
This month Avon will launch its second scent from fashion designer Josie Natori. The new scent, Josie, is a sheer citrus floral inspired by the designer's "anytime, anywhere" fashion collection, according to the company. The juice, created by Givaudan-Roure, includes top notes of bergamot, mandarin, ylang-ylang and magnolia. The heart is comprised of osmanthus, neroli, Damascena rose and jasmine and the base includes vetiver, tonka bean, sandalwood and musk. A 1.7-oz edt spray is $16.50.
"The Avon customer identifies with Josie Natori," said Joe Bierman, Avon vice president of global and U.S. fragrance marketing. "Like Josie, she's living a busy life, but still wants to feel feminine and pampered. The spirited new Josie fragrance is designed to make a woman feel special."
Women may want to feel special, but not weighed down by heavy fragrances. Several marketers have expanded their brands with lighter versions of fragrance that were perfect for the 1980s, but are now a bit too heavy for the '90s. Calvin Klein is following the trend with new body mists. Tiffany has added a new Tiffany Voile Parfumé Atmoisuer. It was offered to Tiffany customers in February and makes its public debut in May. The lighter scent costs less than the original Tiffany scent, according to the company
BeautiControl and Calgon are also doing the light thing this spring. BeautiControl has added Sheer Breeze Skin scent. The skin scent features floral accords such as peony, rose and jasmine with musk, and woods. The Sheer Breeze line also includes Sheer Breeze Body scent, a body lotion that can be worn alone or with the fragrance.
Calgon, the company best known for its bath products, this month debuts Calgon Body Mists, a line of six scents formulated with skin smoothing conditioners. Calgon calls the line "the modern way" to wear fragrance. Each is sold in 8-oz. spray bottles and has a retail price of $5.95. The six varieties are multi-accord scents. The Vanilla mist contains vanilla and citrus top notes, a heart of jasmine and muguet and a powdery background. Turquoise Seas features the essence of seascapes with tropical breezes, leafy greens and herbal nuances, according to the company. Herbal Meadows features citrus, fruit and watery notes. Also available are pink grapefruit, peach and vanilla varieties.
Revlon has expanded two of its fragrance brands. Charlie Sunshine, a light citrus fragrance, created by IFF, hit mass market counters in January. The scent, which has notes of bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, fresh greens, pear and a hint of floral, joins Charlie, Charlie Red and Charlie White scents. This month Revlon adds a new variant to its Fire & Ice fragrance line. New Fire & Ice Cool is a fresh, cool floral, according to the company. Notes include mandarin, clear water notes, chamomile and basil as well as sandalwood and musk. Prices range from $16.50 to $28 for cologne sprays while a .25-oz. perfume is $38. It is also available in massage oil, body lotion, bath and body wash and bath salts.
Revlon has also tried something totally new this season with the launch of Street Wear scents, a line of fragrances that compliment the company's Street Wear nail colors. The trio of scents include: Air, a translucent, light floral that's ozonic clean and dewy; Slick, a fresh fruity green scent; and Fling, a fruity oriental with a touch of vanilla, according to Revlon. Each scent is packaged in a .5-oz. cologne spray canister and retails for $4.95. Street Wear hit mass market counters in February.
Also new to the mass market is Nokomis, the latest fragrance launch from Coty. The scent is a sheer modern oriental that is lighter, sexier and more sensual than a traditional oriental, yet is still long lasting, according to company. Top notes include iris, moonflower, heliotrope peach, plum and raspberry. The heart is comprised of narcisse, damascenia rose, ylang ylang, orange flower and jasmine. The base contains sandalwood, vetiver, tonka bean, patchouli, amber and musk. Nokomis was introduced last month in a special .25-oz. trial size cologne spray. The full fragrance line hit counters April 1 while body creme, larger size cologne spray and gift sets will be added in September.
Sporty and Fashionable
A number of the new scents debuting this spring have fashion designer or sporty positioning that should prove popular with today's active and fashion conscious consumers.
"From fashion to fragrance, I design for women who make their own choices," said designer Bob Mackie, who unveils Perhaps, his new women's fragrance this month. The scent is a sophisticated floral which features top notes of champagne, orange and peach. Additional notes include cyclamen, ylang ylang, rose de mai, osmanthus, jasmine, freesia, blonde wood, warm amber, vanilla and musk. Prices range from $30 for 1.0-oz. eau de parfum spray (available only during the launch) to $95 for a 1.0-oz. parfum spray.
Another new fragrance with a fashion edge is Escada Que Viva, the latest addition to the Escada line of Margaretha Ley fashion fragrances. Escada Que Viva has notes of apple, pineapple, passion fruit, orange blossom, tagete, grape, fig, plum, violet, jasmine, vanilla tree flower, plum and exotic woods.
If Mackie and Escada have a hold on sophisticated designer fragrances this spring, then Nautica and Liz Claiborne have ties to the sporty fashion scene. Later this month, Paul Sebastian will launch a new men's fragrance, Nautica Competition, which will bow in 1,400 doors. Competition was born out of Nautica's new activewear clothing division, which sells items made from waterproof fabrics and footwear. Competition, created by Creations Aromatiques, features apple, spearmint and tagete on a base of musk, oak moss, amber and vetiver. Prices range from $38 for a 2.4-oz. cologne spray to $42.50 for a 4.2-oz. unit. The line also includes a powder, aftershave balm and deodorant.
Leather goods company Mark Cross has unveiled its first women's scent. Embrace and Competition are both marketed by Paul Sebastian. It was first introduced in Nieman Marcus and Mark Cross stores last month. This month it debuts in Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale's and Saks. Givaudan-Roure created the scent which features bergamot, mimosa, magnolia, rose, pink muguet, jasmine musk, sandalwood ylang-ylang and tonka bean accords. To reflect the company's leather goods heritage, the bottle, designed by Luigi Bormioli, resembles a Mark Cross handbag. According to company executives, a men's Mark Cross scent could follow sometime this year.
Chocolate, Tar and Hood Ornaments
Thierry Mugler has unveiled his new men's scent to the U.S. market, AngelMen, the sibling of Mugler's Angel. The bottle design incorporates the same elements as the women's package-the star and blue and silver color. The juice is similar to Angel's as well. "It's compatible with Angel, yet unique and stands alone. It's masculine," said Ben Gillikin, general manager of Mugler Parfum's New York subsidiary. "It has chocolate notes like Angel. But the keys to its masculinity," Mr. Gillikin added, "are roasted coffee beans and tar."
Top notes include bergamot, helional, lavender and peppermint. In addition to the roasted coffee bean and tar notes, the heart also contains woody notes such as patchouli. The base contains edible notes-tonka bean, vanilla, caramel and chocolate-and musk. AngelMen, which is sold in the U.K. as Amen, launches in 24 Saks Fifth Avenue stores in May. The full, 260-store distribution will not be completed until 1998.
If the tar accords of AngelMen appeal to a man's desire to be "on the road," the name of the new Loris Azzaro fragrance, Chrome, should be equally enticing. Chrome, most commonly seen on hood ornaments and grills of well-made automobiles, "is a name that gives men an easy comfortable feeling...It reflects an age of innocence as well as contemporary cool," according to CFG, a division of Clarins USA. The juice is a woody, transparent musk scent that combines bergamot, bigarade, neroli, ginger, cardamom, mate, sandalwood, rosewoods, tea notes, ivy, lichen, hedione and aquatic notes. Prices range from $35 to $54 for fragrances and aftershave splash. Deodorant and aftershave balm are also available.
As this new crop of fragrance comes to market and marketers wait to see which ones will make an impression on consumers, there are already rumblings of new scents which will debut later this year. Among them are two new scents from Liz Claiborne. The company, looking to build on the success it had with Curve, will employ the same launch strategy for Lizsport, for women, and Claiborne Sport, for men. The scents will simultaneously launch in August. Both are targeted to somewhat older consumers than Curve, according to the company
According to Euromonitor, a London market research firm, many mass marketers and prestige fragrance houses are on the right track to build business in the coming years. In mass, growth will come from innovative and strategically targeted product development, while brand heritage and selective distribution will pace the prestige market, according to Euromonitor. Furthermore, alternative retail methods, like those pioneered by Calvin Klein with cK One, and later used by Bijan with Michael Jordan, will become important strategies for growth. According to Euromonitor, these factors will help global fragrance sales rise 19% by 2000 to $21.6 billion.
ASP Celebrates 50
The American Society of Perfumers will host its 43rd annual symposium at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York on May 29.
The theme of this years event is "Celebrating 50 years of fragrance." Scheduled speakers include Ceil Kuzma, vice president, research and development, cosmetics, fragrance, and skin care care, P&G; Brian Lawrence, R.J. Reynolds; and Ralph Martin, master perfumer, Firmenich. ASP will honor Victor DiGiacomo and William Foley for their 50 years of membership, and Mr. Martin will be presented with the lifetime achievement award during the luncheon. More info: ASP, P.O. Box 1551, West Caldwell, NJ 07004.