Go Global for Growth

August 4, 2008

Fine fragrance sales are up in many regions, even as sales of women’s fragrances slump in the U.S. But fragrance packaging suppliers have some ideas on how to create excitement on department store counters and mass market shelves.

Go Global for Growth

Fine fragrance sales are up in many regions, even as sales of women’s fragrances slump in the U.S. But fragrance packaging suppliers have some ideas on how to create excitement on department store counters and mass market shelves.

Tom Branna
Editorial Director

Women’s fragrance sales may be faltering in the U.S., but the men’s category continues to post modest gains. On the global level, both women’s and men’s sales are on the upswing. No wonder, then, that the fragrance industry is set to roll out dozens of new scents throughout the world this fall, even as sales in the U.S. stall.
What’s more, with the economy heading south and not expected to pick up until at least mid-2009, marketers are releasing all of these fragrances at a time when many consumers insist that they are cutting back on nonessentials. Of course, industry observers have long noted that in tough economic times, women turn to beauty products as a less expensive option to a new wardrobe.
The U.S. fine fragrance industry could certainly use a spritz of new users. According to Kline & Co., retail sales of men’s fragrances rose an anemic 0.1% last year to $1.8 billion, while sales of women’s fragrances fell 0.4% to $4 billion. Still, even a little growth is better than a decline.
“The men’s segment is a growing market for fine fragrance. The men’s range is getting wider and wider. We can see now an increased number of flankers, including aftershave with the same look,” said Julie Vergnion of Rexam. “This is following the trend that men’s product lines are catching up with women’s ones. Travel retail/on the go products is showing nice growth as well.  We see this as a mega-trend that we call ‘nomadism.’”

The Rollouts Continue

More good news is that, on the global level, men’s fragrance sales jumped 6.7% to $11.5 billion last year and women’s scents were up 5.8% to $20 billion, according to Kline & Co. Though the calendar says August, marketers are getting ready to roll out an array of new scents in plenty of time for the all-important holiday selling season. For example, Karl Lagerfeld will introduce Kapsule, a trio of unisex scents for Coty this fall. The square-shaped bottles are said to evoke the designer’s love of geometry.
Shiseido, too, selected a square-shaped bottle for its new Zen fragrance, which debuts next month in U.S. department and specialty stores. The scent is a lighter version of the original Zen fragrance, which has been available since 1964.
Brad-Pak supplies the 0.25oz. frosted square bottles for Juicy Couture, which also used the same bottle for Viva La Juicy.

From Europe comes B Spot, the newest fragrance from Benefit Cosmetics. It’s just the second scent from the LVMH division, but company executives say it’s part of a strategy to create a $400 million global brand by the end of the year.
In other new fragrance news, this month Parlux is rolling out Fancy Jessica Simpson, a floral oriental fragrance aimed at women ages 15 to 35.
For a more mature audience, Ralph Lauren is releasing Notorious, a sister scent to the brand’s top-selling Romance fragrance. Notorious is an oriental fragrance with an art deco-inspired bottle.

Creating Different Looks

Sales from Shanghai to Saigon may be soaring, but the U.S. market continues to limp along. In these tough retail conditions, made worse by the quasi-recession, marketers must find new ways to attract consumers to their fragrance counters and often that requires unique packaging concepts.
“Fragrances need to be differentiated and unique packages will accomplish this task,” said Steve Nussbaum of O.Berk. “If the consumer likes the fragrance, he or she will look for the distinguishing package of his or her favorite fragrance. Trial sizes are one way for the consumer to try new fragrances, as well as sample with purchase.”
O. Berk's new Designer Glass Packaging Group offers a range of packaging solutions for the fine fragrance industry.

According to Ms. Vergnion of Rexam, the quality of the package and the design are key to consumer acceptance.
“You must create on-shelf excitement, a magic moment when the consumer sees and then holds the product in the store,” she told Happi. “And then, there is the after-sale end-user experience.  The pump must work flawlessly, for the life of the product.”

The Total Package

First impressions are important in the fine fragrance sector, where many consumers make their purchasing decision on-counter, said industry experts.
“It is widely known that the first impression of a product on the shelf is decisive, so the packaging plays an important role here,” said Sandy Gregory, MWV Calmar. “It should differentiate the product and, obviously, it should communicate the image and positioning of the brand so that the right end-user is attracted to it. In order to ensure that the end user buys the same product again, it is essential that the packaging live up to the consumer’s expectations.”
The new Clikit IP from MWV Calmar.

MWV Calmar offers the consumer a 100% quality guarantee of the correct functioning of the pump throughout the life of the perfume contained within the bottle. MWV Calmar’s highly successful ultra low profile Melodie pump, which has been the choice of some of the most prestigious brands in the market, offers a very soft feel to actuate and an excellent spray pattern. Any unsightly elements such as the pump’s engine or the dip tube have been eliminated from sight thanks to the reduced dimensions of the Melodie pump and MWV Calmar’s revolutionary invisible dip tube, NoC.
Brad-Pak offers a variety of items to make the entire fragrance package, explained Jenifer Brady.
“We sell bottles and jars in plastic, glass and aluminum, as well as a large assortment of pumps, caps and tubes,” she noted. “We also can provide labels and silk screening decorations on the containers.”

Sustainability Issues

MWV Calmar is focusing on four main pillars: sustainable packaging that can be recycled easily, packs that are portable and adapted for travel, packs that cater to preservative-free formulas and that promote the life of a product, and finally, packs that make life easier for the end user, said Ms. Gregory.
With more cosmetic companies promoting their green initiatives, more fragrance executives are returning to glass for their packaging needs, according to Ms. Brady.
“Glass is becoming more desirable and is the No. 1 packaging material for fragrances, especially from a sustainability and recyclability viewpoint. It is very green,” said Ms. Brady. “For a while, PET fragrance bottles emerged and gave glass a scare, but in the end, glass is very compatible with the fragrances and people are going back to the basics.”
Rexam's XM99 fragrance pump gives marketers color flexibility.

As Mr. Nussbaum of O. Berk & Co. noted, women will always use perfumes and colognes. The high end of this market is still being sold as luxury goods are in demand.
“Glass is the preferred package for all the reasons that you know: best material to hold perfume without interfering with the scent; feels and looks luxurious. Also, decorating the bottles will enhance their appearance,” said Mr. Nussbaum.
O.Berk has created a new division to handle specialty glass for this segment.

New Ideas in Packaging

According to Ms. Gregory, MWV Calmar has opened up a world of opportunity for fragrance brands with Clikit IP, which meets the rigorous demands of today’s brand owners: exceptional technical performance, creative decorative design and high-end style. Clikit IP is a resin injected version of the company’s market-leading Melodie Clikit pump and has been developed so that brand owners can creatively customize the plastic collar and actuator sheath with original decorative effects, such as fluorescent and pearl decorations, soft touch finishes, and a wide range of colors, to obtain a truly unique look and feel for their product.
Rexam recently introduced the XD-11 fragrance pump for luxury brands. According to the company, it opens exciting new design possibilities for those competing in today’s demanding consumer marketplace. Its ultra-low profile is made possible by a unique, miniaturized mechanism concealed within the neck of the bottle. The ergonomically advanced push button, available in metal or plastic, and in classic or smoothly sculpted designer versions, combines with the reduced diameter of the nozzle to enhance the pump’s aesthetic and tactile appeal, according to Ms. Vergnion.
The SBR from Curtis Packaging.

Rexam’s newest fragrance pump is the XM99, an all-plastic component that gives marketers color flexibility for maximum on-shelf appeal, according to Rexam. The XM99 is delivered fully assembled, and its user-friendly, cost-efficient design is perfect for product lines around the world, according to Ms. Vergnion.
Curtis Packaging introduced SBR, which is billed as an innovative packaging alternative that exhibits the look and feel of a set-up box and is considerably stronger than a simple style. The smart design of SBR enables the inside cover to be printed in a single pass on press, according to the company. SBR cartons have clean lines, crisp edges and sharp corners. In addition, the patent-pending SBR is designed to accommodate all of Curtis Packaging’s unique printing techniques.

Environmentally-Conscious Consumers

Environmental issues are having an impact on every facet of the personal care category. As a result, fragrance marketers and suppliers must consider green issues on a regular basis, said Don Droppo of Curtis Packaging.
“Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious and are demanding that companies take more responsibility for their environmental impact,” said Mr. Droppo. “Fragrance companies need to understand the trend and develop the strategies to capitalize on it.”
He suggested that fragrance and packaging companies should research and develop new packaging alternatives or implement new uses for existing materials, as well as invest in packaging that responds to current market situations like environmental concerns. According to Mr. Droppo, Curtis Packaging has developed several printing alternatives that are environmentally friendly. For example, its CurtChrome is an environmentally-friendly alternative to foil lamination.
For outer cartons, Curtis has developed several proprietary packaging alternatives like CurtCoat, which is an ultra-gloss eco-friendly UV coating that provides a mirror-like shine of film lamination without the high costs of an off-line process.
“In addition, CurtCrystal simulates the raised tactile feel of micro-embossing at a significant savings,” said Mr. Droppo. “Also, many other unique offerings are available, like paperboard made of 100% apple waste or seaweed.” 
Packaging has always played an important role in fine fragrance marketing, but with an uncertain economy, faltering sales of women’s scents in the U.S. and growing interest in environmental issues, choosing the right fragrance package is more crucial than ever.