Brighter Days for Home Fragrance

November 22, 2005

The shadow lifted in 2003 and sales rebounded 3.7%.

Air Wick Neutra Air promises to freshen air and disinfect it too.
Home fragrance marketers got a whiff of good news this year. Home fragrance sales rebounded 3.7% in 2003 to $2.6 billion, according to Little Falls, NJ-based Kline & Company’s “Home Fragrances USA 2003” report. These results were bolstered by innovative products, as well as better sales in tried-and-true categories such as candles.

“Factors fueling this growth include a stronger year for candle sales, strong gains for new commodity room spray products and steady gains for smaller product categories, such as potpourri,” insisted Lenka Contreras, vice president, Kline & Company’s Consumer Products Practice.

Kline & Company said consumers buy home fragrance products to fragrance rooms (73%), and to a much lesser degree, mask odors (16.3%). Other reasons include decoration/display (9.3%), relaxing and unwinding (6%), creating an inviting mood (6%) and seasonal wardrobe changes (2%).

Dare to Disinfect
Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), Chicago, reported the air freshener market grew 14.6% to $604 million for the year ended July 11, which includes the home, automobile and potpourri segments. These results do not include Wal-Mart results. Kline & Company noted the new category of room sprays that double as household cleaning products were met with high levels of consumer acceptance in 2003.

Air Wick, formerly Wizard, introduced Neutra Air Continuous Action air treatment which contains the germ-fighting power of Lysol in an electric, adjustable diffuser. Neutra Air is said to neutralize tough odors in the air caused by bacteria, in places such as bathrooms and kitchens.

“Consumers have busy lives, so they want a product that is easy to use, and effective in removing odors rather than just masking them,” insisted Lynne Fender, Lysol senior brand manager.

Neutra Air retails in Fresh, Citrus and Sparkling Waters fragrances. Executives said these scents, which are often associated with cleaning, tested well with consumers. “The brand name commands a clean fresh fragrance and the expectation is a light, airy, clean scent rather than a perfume, which they may demand from air care products,” explained Ms. Fender.

Oust Bathroom Air Sanitizer is new from S.C. Johnson. This diffuser kills odor-causing bacteria; however, it is housed in a dispenser that can attach to almost any surface. Inside is a fragrance-filled canister that releases fragrance when pressed from the outer white plastic shell. Fragrances include Outdoor and Citrus.

Sprays and Such
Other types of sprays have also hit the home fragrance scene. Procter & Gamble has expanded its Febreze portfolio with aerosol spray Febreze Air Effects. P&G found that 70% of Febreze buyers also purchase air care products. Air Effects borrows odor-eliminating technology from Febreze Fabric Refresher and has a novel dispenser. “Its unique spray technology allows fresh fragrances to fill the air by using an innovative aerosol delivery system and easy-to-use trigger,” said John Sebastian, brand manager for Febreze, P&G.

The Febreze Air Effects scents include Citrus & Light, Spring & Renewal, Meadows & Rain, Blossoms & Breeze and Summer & Splash.

Essencia, Shreveport, LA, offers various essential oil-based home fragrance products. The new Lavender linen spray soothes consumers at bedtime. For the holidays, Essencia will introduce an Orange Blossom linen spray and Baby Bouquet Body & Nursery mist, a calming blend of lavender and chamomile to prepare babies for sleep. “Aromatherapy is an indirect response to life getting crazier and more stressful,” insisted Allison Lipe McCloskey, Essencia co-founder. “It’s an indication that life can be intense.”

Also, Essencia is launching reusable Lavender and Chamomile Dryer bags this month.

Diffusers: Electric or Mobile?
Reckitt Benckiser executives said electrical oil diffusers account for one-third of the $1 billion air care category and have largely driven the growth in the home fragrance category. IRI reported sales in the largest air care category, home air fresheners, grew 15% to $550 million from the July-to-July period.

Air Wick Mobil’ Air Electric Portable diffuser, new from Reckitt Benckiser, combines the benefits of an electric diffuser in a battery-operated, moveable format. Reckitt Benckiser was the No. 2 vendor of home air fresheners for the year ended July 11., IRI said.

“Continuous action formats continue to grow due to their convenience,” insisted a Reckitt Benckiser spokesperson. “Consumers are moving away from functional air care formats; they are more interested in continuous premium fragrancing solutions for their personal well-being in the home and ambience creation.”

The intensity of the fragrance oils can be adjusted, and varieties include Country Berries (raspberry, strawberry and vanilla) and Crisp Breeze (florals, eucalyptus and herbs).

S.C. Johnson, the No. 1 vendor of automobile and home air fresheners according to IRI, launched the Glade Secrets line of small-space gel air fresheners. They tackle odors in hard-to-reach areas, such as bathrooms, cars, closets, cabinets, garbage and pet areas. These stand-alone, adhesive fresheners are sold in single and twin packs. Executives said they last for 30 days. Glade Secrets’ most recent scent addition was Lavender Meadow.

Also new is Glade Wisp. Sold in a starter kit and refills, the battery-operated diffuser emits a measured puff every few seconds due to an embedded microchip. Wisp retails in Hawaiian Breeze, Mystical Garden and Citrus & Herb scents.

Air Wick also added plug-in Air Fresheners in Relaxation (lavender and chamomile) in purple and Revitalization (citrus and eucalyptus) in light blue. They feature a fragrance level adjuster. Executives said the plug-ins offer a personalized, flame-free way to enjoy the scents.

“There is something to be said for flameless, constant, 24-hour fragrance dissemination,” said John Lanman, vice president of marketing and retail, Blyth HomeScents International North America. “We have found in our re-search that most consumers like to use the same fragrance in multiple forms to optimize the experience. It also gives HomeScents more opportunities.”

Blyth HomeScent’s Kate’s Bloomin’ Essence electric diffusers, introduced a little more than a year ago, offer a soft glow to the room and sit upright without blocking both electrical outlets. The technology will be added to other Blyth candle lines as well, Mr. Lanman said.

White Barn Candle Company’s Wallflowers Continuous Room fragrance now features a rotating plug so the product can be used horizontally or vertically and leaves other outlets free. A stabilizing leg also helps to keep the product upright when unplugged.

Yankee Candle is expanding its Electric Home fragrances with Autumn Splendor, Christmas Wreathe and Christmas Berry for the holidays.

The Body Shop, San Francisco, added season offerings to its Home Fragrance Oil collection. The oils can be used in The Body Shop’s Aroma Jar diffusers and come in the new Chocolate & Orange, Cranberry, Sugar & Spice, Brandied Apple, Snow and Pine scents. Cranberry is also available in a Filled candle and Room & Linen spray.

SCJ Takes the Gold in Home Air Fresheners
S.C. Johnson ranked No. 1 in home air fresheners for the 52 weeks ended July 11, 2004. All dollar and unit sales figures are in millions.
Vendor $ Sales % Change $ Share Unit Sales % Change
S.C. Johnson 273.6 22.0 49.7 107.7 10.0
Reckitt Benckiser 157.4 17.0 28.6 64.7 7.4
Dial Corp. 72.1 7.4 13.1 54.4 7.8
Private Label 13.1 -4.6 2.4 13.8 -3.6
Vapor Products 3.7 -3.4 0.7 1.0 -18.0
California Scents 3.5 16.4 0.7 1.2 19.1
Beaumont Products 3.0 7.9 0.6 0.6 9.2
New Ideas 1.9 -9.8 0.4 0.6 6.0
Medo Industries 1.9 -13.4 0.4 0.5 -21.3
Labs Ltd. 1.7 28.4 0.3 0.3 -21.7
Category Total 550.2 15.0 100.0 252.8 6.7
Source: Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), Chicago. Wal-Mart sales are not included.

Road Trip-Ready
IRI reported automobile air fresheners grew a staggering 44.7% to $31.7 million during the year ended July 11.

Watertown, NY-based Car-Freshener, the No. 3 vendor of automobile air fresheners, according to IRI, has launched a series of new shapes such as the Bass and Goldfish multi-colored and molded plastic air fresheners under the Just Great Fish banner. They feature the Cool Cascade scent. New Little Tree fresheners include Mango and Black Ice. Also, Car-Freshener launched three Garfield cartoon air fresheners with the one-liners “It’s All About Me,” “Eating is My Life” and “I’ll Rise But I Won’t Shine.”

Car-Freshener also introduced LiquidAire Vent clips in three classic “Little Tree” fragrances: New Car Scent, Strawberry and Vanillaroma. Executives said the fragrances can be adjusted by controlling the air flow through car vents.

The Autofresh Car Fragrancing system, new from Bath & Body Works, attaches to a car’s air vent and features a fragrance control to adjust levels of the fragrance. Executives noted the dashboard outlet is free for cell phone charging or portable video systems.

U.S. Takes Aim at Chinese Imports
The U.S. is taking on China in a dispute over candle imports. In 1985, the U.S. candle market was flooded with inexpensive imports from the People’s Republic of China. To remedy the situation, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission added a 54.21% “anti-dumping” duty on Chinese petroleum wax candles. The competition became detrimental again for U.S. candle manufacturers, and in April, the U.S. Department of Commerce raised the duty to 108.3%.

“The dumping of candles from the People’s Republic or China has seriously injured the U.S. candle industry, resulting not only in lost sales, but job layoffs and plant closures,” explained NCA executive vice president Valerie Cooper in a statement.

Alternate Avenues
If you think you’ve heard it all before in the home fragrance segment, think again. Consumers want home fragrances that can be used in a variety of ways, Kline & Company said, as illustrated by the 5% growth in potpourri sales in 2003.

Febreze Scentstories recreates outdoor atmospheres using a CD-like player.

Febreze Scentstories may look like a CD player, but it does not play music; it plays themed, scented discs. P&G executives said the scents are complimentary and can match various moods. “The popularity of home improvement, interior design and expressing yourself via your home décor is very prevalent, making this the right time for Scentstories to hit the market,” insisted P&G’s Mr. Sebastian. “The music you play and the color you paint the walls are just two ways people express their mood and personality at home.”

The mood-evoking scents such as “Wandering barefoot on the shore” and “Relaxing in the hammock” will be joined by three holiday discs in October. These fragrances were carefully chosen from a plethora of options.

“The perfume creative team selected the Scentstories fragrances from a pool of more than 1000 creative scent possibilities,” said Mr. Sebastian.

Another innovative item, Dial’s new Renuzit Roller Scents, is designed especially for the bathroom. This item fits between the tissue paper roller and the toilet paper roll and emits fragrance for 30 days. Roller Scents is available in Rainflower Mist and Paradise Breeze. Executives said the fragrance is further boosted when the roll is spun.

Reckitt Benckiser added the Linen & Cotton Flower scent to its Decosphere line of decorative liquid air fresheners and Crystal ‘ Air glass/gel fresheners, as well as the Linen Sunshine scent to the Aerosol air freshener lineup.

Essencia offers Aromatic Light Bulb rings. These circular terracotta items diffuse essential oils through the heat of a light bulb. Oil blends include Fresh Citrus, Garden Blossom, Lavender Mint and Spicy Evergreen.

Candles Sales Re-ignite
Candle sales did not record the same stellar growth as the rest of the home fragrance market in 2003. Sales rose less than 1% due to market saturation, Kline & Company reported. However, they did contribute to overall positive home fragrance results. Marketers such as Yankee Candle continue to perform well, and pillar candles remain popular, such as S.C. Johnson’s Glade 3-in-1 candle, the top-selling candle brand in the mass market with sales of $39.2 million for they year ended July 11, IRI said.

According to the National Candle Association (NCA), Washington, DC, 75% of consumers said fragrance is the most important attribute of candles, followed by color, cost and shape. Vanilla-based aromas have traditionally led the candle market; however, “fantasy” scents such as ocean breeze or fresh laundry are making their mark as well, the NCA said.

A Warm Sentiment
The NCA reported candles are used in 70% of households, and 90% of consumers use them to feel cozy. Several new candles for the fall and winter reflect that sentiment.

Primal Elements, Garden Grove, CA, is adding nine new fragrances to the Color Bowl candle collection. Executives said the candles are culinary-focused, such as Sweet Cream and Oatmeal Cookies. However other candles were heavily influenced by florientals and orientals such as the Chai Tea and Bayberry scents, but with a unique twist. “We married spices from the holidays with exotic scents,” explained Faith Freeman, co-founder of Primal Elements. “Together, they create the same warm feelings and sensuous aromas from the holidays.”

Ms. Freeman pointed to cable network shows as the basis for recent culinary interest. “Also, we are now so global; we can get any food, vegetable, spice or herb that we want,” she added.

The Color Bowl candles emit a stained glass effect when lit due to a combination of translucent gel waxes. Ms. Freeman insisted this is an aspect that has made her candles stand out from the crowd. The gels are formed into cubes, which she likens to warm, glistening jewels.

“I still think atmosphere is very important,” she said. “Nothing can match the glow and warmth a candle provides. It is also very instrumental in creating a mood in the house.”

The Color Bowl candles retail in a 12-oz. size. Primal Elements offers matching fragrances as well under the 1.75-oz. Demi-Light candle collection.

The Vanilla Lover’s collection is new from the Candle-Lite division of Lancaster Colony Company, the No. 1 vendor of candles, according to IRI. Included are six vanilla blends.
Nyakio, Los Angeles, introduced two holiday candles inspired by Kenya. The first, African Tea candle, offers a delicate citrus scent. Secondly, the Mom-basa candle mirrors African beaches with hints of ocean air and citrus.

Bath and Body Works (BBW) introduced the Jeff Leatham Flowers by Design candle collection. The famous flower sculptor developed five exotic scents for the collection such as Viburnum and Pink Cattleya. They are available in White Barn Candle Co. and BBW stores.

Cucina Dolce, new from Fruits & Passion, recreates aromas of Italian bakery treats.

Absolutely Delectable
To create a warm atmosphere, several companies are recreating smells of the kitchen. Fruits & Passion, Montreal, Canada, launched Cucina Dolce, a sub-collection under the Cucina line of olive oil products. The candles and sprays were designed to evoke the ambiance of an Italian café with Nutmeg and Orange Zest, Fresh Cream, Hazelnut and Espresso variants. France Guay, Fruits & Passion’s marketing and communications director, said the “cocooning” trend is still very much alive and consumers want more complex scents.

“People are using mono-fragrances in the bathroom, but in the kitchen and bedroom, they want something different,” insisted Ms. Guay. “They also want a home environment that is as personalized as possible.”

Executives noted that the scents can be used alone or together to create dessert-like aromas. For example, a “tiramisu” fragrance can be created by burning the Espresso, Fresh Cream and Hazelnut candles simultaneously. Fruits & Passion provides “recipes” on the candles to help novices create tantalizing aromas.

Other Cucina Dolce products in-clude chocolate-scented wax tablets (Chocolate Orange, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Hazelnut) for fondue-like diffusers, Gelato soaps (Strawberry, Pistachio and Lemon) and two candle gift sets. Executives plan to extend Cucina Dolce with more personal care items.

“In the kitchen, you don’t want to mask the odors of cooking, but melt with them,” Ms. Guay explained.

The company also creates ambiance throughout the home with the Somnea line for the bedroom and the PlantPassion outdoor perfumed incense stick for patios. Fruits & Passion products are sold online and in select department stores.

Following the edibles trend, Yankee Candle offers some stomach- and heart-warming scents this fall such as Golden Spiced Pear, Farmhouse Apple, Cinnamon Stick and Vanilla Caramel. They will be available until the end of the year, executives said.

Some companies use several tasty aromas in one candle. For example, Baking with Grandma, the newest Glade 3-in-1 scent, combines vanilla cream cookie, baked pear and cinnamon treat. S.C. Johnson is the No. 2 vendor of candles in the mass market with sales of $65.3 million for the year ended July 11, IRI reported.

Florasense, the No. 1 brand of potpourri/sachets with annual sales of $2.9 million (IRI), is a division of Blyth HomeScents International North America. The line recently added the Sweet Things collection of three candles in a reusable ceramic cup, pie dish and cookie jar. The fragrance recalls Grandma’s cozy kitchen with a blend cinnamon rolls, cherry cobbler and strawberry, executives said.

Primal Elements’ Color Bowls feature culinary and warm scents for the fall and winter.

‘Tis the Season
PartyLite executives said the indoors are moving outdoors and the NCA reported one in five women use candles to decorate the outside of their homes. PartyLite offers Change-O-Lanterns, cubic, powder-coated, metal sleeves to help radiate candlelight. They come in Halloween and Snowflake designs. Other holiday items include the Hearthside Leaf Viking candelabra, the new Whispering Leaves and Stratus Star candleholders and the annual 2004 tealight snowglobe.

The holidays are also a time to enjoy traditional scents. The White Barn Candle Co., a division of BBW, launched the Perfect Autumn collection of candles, room sprays, potpourri and body products inspired by the hallmarks of the fall season. Aromas include Pumpkin, Apple and Maple.

Yankee Candle Company will add two Housewarmer candles for Halloween, Witches’ Brew and Trick or Treat. The scents are also available in tea lights, votives and wax potpourri. Yankee Candle is the No. 4 best-selling brand of potpourri, according to IRI for the year ended July 11.

Yankee also offers limited edition holiday scents such as Jack Frost, Snow Angel, Hot Buttered Rum and Peppermint Cocoa.

The stylish YC line from Yankee Candle will add three new candle scents for the holidays and four incense sticks. The aromas include Vanilla Sandalwood, Ginger Lime, Pome-granate and Apricot & Honey.

Crabtree & Evelyn will introduce the Noël candle collection this month with a frankincense and Siberian fir fragrance blend.

Blyth HomeScents is gearing up for fall with three additions under the premium Colonial candle line: Apple Orchard, Vanilla+Brandy and Pome-granate. For the holidays, Colonial will introduce Holiday Hearth (amber, rose, patchouli, incense and myrrh) and Blue Spruce. “Blue Spruce is expected to do quite well,” said Mr. Lanman of Blyth HomeScents. “We always do well with pine. People just love the fragrance.”

Home Interiors’ Better Homes and Gardens collection offers EarthBlends candles.

Dallas-based direct-selling company Home Interiors and Gifts teamed up with Merideth Corporation to launch the Better Homes and Gardens home decorating line. New for the fall is the EarthBlends Maple Pumpkin Butter scent, a soy wax candle with a melange of pumpkin, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, maple and caramel notes.

Jimmy Belasco, president and founder of Er’go Candles, said winter is a time many reminisce about spring. “In the winter, you are trapped inside and people want to recreate an ‘open-window’ feeling to get the freshness of the outdoors,” Mr. Belasco insisted.

Er’go offers the Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme candle, as well as the Green Pastures and Four-Leaf Clover candles. Winter is a time to plan trips as well. In January, Er’go will reintroduce the Candle Travel tins in a smaller size.

First Candle Congress Held in April
The World Candle Congress (WCC), held last April in Orlando, FL, will occur again in 2007. Organizers said more than 1000 candle manufacturers and industry suppliers from around the world attended the four-day event, which featured reports on the state of the industry in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, as well as technical presentations. The congress was co-hosted by the National Candle Association, Washington, DC, and the Asociacion Latino Americana de Fabricates de Velas (ALAFAVE), Miami, FL. More info: www.candles.org or www.alafave.org.

Waxes: a Burning Issue
Candle waxes have been a topic of interest in the past few years. Many companies are moving away from paraffin, despite its affordability, in an effort to utilize renewable sources.

Nirvana, Soquel, CA, introduced the Spa collection, a line of palm and soy wax candle pillars and candle tins. Executives said the pillars create a unique lighting source, especially with the company’s signature etchings on the sides of the candle.

“As the pillar burns down, palm wax tends to tunnel and form a hollow cylinder,” said Nirvana’s vice president of marketing, Chris Balthasar. “It is an annoyance for most candle manufacturers, but for us, because of the image on the side, it creates a romantic, glowing, flickering image.”

Nirvana recently added three candle etchings—Purity (lotus), Wisdom (Buddha) and Remover of Obstacles (Indian elephant God Ganesh). Each Spa candle is also lightly scented with a lavender and chamomile essential oil blend.

The waxes in the Spa candles were created for health- and ecological-conscious consumers due to their renewable source and clean burn. “The leftover wax is more like throwing out a banana peel rather than a piece of plastic,” insisted Mr. Balthasar.

Nirvana also added three Karmic Cube scents as well: Nag Champa, Dragon’s Blood and Sweet Grass.

Pharmacopia, Mill Valley, CA, launched four soy candles with the essential oil blends of citrus, lavender, ginger and rosemary. Executives said vegetable wax has a slower burn rate than paraffin waxes, and it also burns cooler, which helps to retain scent.

Los Angeles-based Archipelago Botanicals launched the AB Home Collection of eight 50% soy wax candles. The gourmet fragrances include ChöcoLate (dark chocolate and orange) and VAnilla (vanilla and apricot), as well as herbal aromas such as LeM-Möngrass (lemongrass and thyme) and Junipér (juniper and lavender).

Essencia offers a range of soy wax-based, aromatherapeutic candles such as the Chamomile and Vanilla & Ylang Ylang Aromatherapy candles. After a year of trial and error, the company chose their best candle formulation.

“Soy is harder to work with, especially because we use essential oils and soy can sometimes affect the intensity,” explained Ms. McCloskey of Essencia. “Also the coloration is difficult because we don’t use artificial colors.”

Ms. McCloskey noted that soy wax is also water-soluble, making it easy to remove from fabric and surfaces.

Er’go Candles, Dallas, TX, provides candles that contain 99% soy wax and 1% vegetable wax. Founder Jimmy Belasco said it is so pure, he actually used it to fry chicken. “I may have goofy marketing tactics,” he admitted. “But I am serious about my candles.”

His efforts are not in vain. “We spent a lot of money and development on new fragrance and layering techniques; we wanted to showcase them in as pure a form as possible.”

Mr. Belasco insisted soy wax has a cleaner smell than paraffin wax. “Before I never noticed that petroleum smell because my nose always associated that with candles,” he said. “But now that I have grown accustomed to soy candles, I can tell the difference.”

Er’go uses soy wax in its new Library and Garden sister candle collections.

The Package is the Presentation
The NCA reported 74% of women said candles are important home accessories, and 72% use them while entertaining. Er’Go launched sister brands Garden and Library this fall, which share eight fragrances but vastly different packaging. Garden features turquoise boxes with a whimsical floral garden design and round windows. The minimalist Library design has khaki-colored boxes and faceplates like those found on index card drawers.

“Library is more of a 1940s ‘Standard Issue,’ when everything was pretty basic, like old steel desks,” explained Er’go’s Mr. Belasco.

The cylinder glass candle fragrances are denoted with a removable vinyl dot.

Tocca Beauty will launch Tocca Cucina in 200 department stores this month. Designed to convey the warmth of the kitchen, the candles are housed in glass jars featuring orange and blue latticed white cartons. They come in two fragrances: Sofia (herbal garden) and Marcella (milk and honey).

Gift-wrapping is not necessary with The Thymes’ new Luminaria candle collection. This series of 15 fragrances are housed in colorful batik cartons with hand-tied sea grass accents. Scents include floral, relaxing, energizing, comforting and fruity scents, such as Persian Pear, Wild Fern and Ceylon Ginger. Executives said they capture nature’s most compelling scents.

A New Beginning
Ten years ago, home fragrance was still in its infancy. Strong consumer demand for candles spurred marketers to explore other segments to help homes smell great.

“People continue to spend more time in their homes with their guests and loved ones and a nicely fragranced home makes a host proud,” said a Reckitt Benckiser spokesperson.

Many candle executives admit sales have not been stellar, however there are still pockets of consumer interest. Primal Elements’ Ms. Freeman pointed to innovative concepts and the ever-popular vanilla scent, which gives an indication of the current economic and political climate, she said.

“With uncertain times, and when people are not comfortable with what might be going on, vanilla provides a memory of another time,” Ms. Freeman insisted. “People love the sweetness, warmth and comfort it provides.”

But perhaps it goes even deeper than. “Ultimately, candles make you feel better,” said Er’go’s Mr. Belasco. “It is like having someone else in the room; it is a living entity, existing and giving off a natural energy.”

Home fragrance sales should continue to rise as more consumers become aware of their surroundings and find innovative ways to incorporate fragrance into their daily lives.

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