Freshly Squeezed

March 30, 2009

Will intriguing juices and novel packaging save the cash-crunched fragrance market?

Smaller, portable sizes are an ideal fit for today’s consumers.

Freshly Squeezed

Will intriguing juices and novel packaging save the cash-crunched fragrance market?

Melissa Meisel
Associate Editor

This season, more than ever, fine fragrance marketers must capture the attention of penny-pinching “recessionistas” by way of snazzy spritzes and splashes, one product at a time.

According to a recent report from market research firm The NPD Group, Port Washington, NY, of all beauty categories tracked in the U.S., fragrance experienced the biggest decline during the past year. Conversely, the category holds the greatest opportunity for growth—as seen in a slew of innovative rollouts for Spring 2009. From celebrity staples to limited-edition gifts, there is something for everyone in the fine fragrance market for 2009. But will the juice be worth the squeeze—no pun intended?

In a “How America Shops” report from WSL Strategic Retail, a New York, NY-based research firm, consumers may buy products in 2009 if marketers are selling something unique. In a recent survey, 46% of shoppers agreed to the statement, “I can afford to buy things, but it has to be different and special. I’m not going to buy just to have more stuff.”

And it shows in the numbers. At its annual “Hot Off the Press” event at the Rainbow Room in New York City, NPD presented the global beauty industry’s first look at 2008 year-end results for fragrance and other categories. Of all categories tracked by NPD in the U.S., fragrance experienced the biggest decline.

New Pleasures splashes from Estée Lauder.
“The most pressing concerns for the fragrance category are not only the loss of users, but decreasing frequency of usage. It is important that the industry find new ways to engage consumers, especially as they become more independent about their product selection,” said Karen Grant, senior global industry analyst and vice president, beauty, at NPD.

Euromonitor International forecasts that for 2009, sales of fragrances in the U.S. will total $5.2 billion—$4.16 billion in premium, and $1.08 billion in mass. In 2003, sales were nearly $6 billion. And, as previously reported in Happi, things may get worse before they get better. According to Euromonitor, fine fragrance sales will fall 14% through 2012.

On Trend

According to Rochelle Bloom, president, The Fragrance Foundation, New York, NY, portability is one of the buzzwords for Spring 2009.“Perfume should be an affordable pleasure, an affordable fashion accessory. One way to entice consumers is to make smaller bottles,” she said.

Summer fun from cK One
Virginia Lee, a senior research analyst with Euromonitor International, Chicago, IL, agreed. “Portable formats such as rollerball pens have been popular in fine fragrance due to their on-the-go convenience and lower cost,” she said.

In fact, savvy packaging in general could move the market, according to Bernd Beetz, chief executive officer, Coty Inc., New York, NY, in an interview with Happi.

“While the scent is critical to the success of a fragrance, the packaging of the bottle is taking on increasing importance,” he said. “In many cases, the look and feel of the package can sell the fragrance.”

John Deputato, senior vice president of client solutions, Information Resources, Inc., Fairfield, NJ, noted that while packaging is critical in the allure of a fragrance, in the end, it’s how the fragrance makes the consumer feel that’s most important. And for Spring 2009, there’s a colorful palette of scent stories on deck, according to industry insiders.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of the re-emergence of woods and the general broadening of the olfactive portfolio,” noted Karyn Khoury, senior vice president, corporate fragrance development worldwide, The Estée Lauder Companies, New York, NY.

According to Jack Corley, executive vice president, Trilogy Fragrances, Lakewood, NJ, the olfactive direction is turning toward sheer florals, fruity florals and most recently, super fruits. Citrus/herbal/vanilla notes also continue to grow more popular in the “green” categories.

All in all, a fragrance must have that “wow factor” to woo a potential follower, said Frank Mara, senior vice president, Berje, Bloomfield, NJ. “Marketing is always the initial hook when it comes to fragrance, and a good campaign can always give the fragrance launch some vitality, but in the end, it is always the fragrance that brings the customer back,” he said.

Modern Day Classics

When it comes to fine fragrance, it’s all about the classics for 2009. Staple names over the years, like Calvin Klein Eternity and Estée Lauder Beautiful, are back with revamped, limited-edition scents to pique consumer interest. Some names are resurrected from the 1980s and 1990s, like United Colors of Benetton or Guess. Either way, these signature scents are taking on new incarnations for 2009 to entice their loyal clientele and maybe gain some new ones in this troubled economy.

Prada’s newest fragrance features a juicy citrus fragrance
“With the current economic climate, customers will be looking for comfort and the basics, as in a return to the classics,” said Mr. Mara at Berje.

“Overall, the bells and whistles normally associated with new launches will quiet down,” agreed Alison Farn, chief executive officer, GF Ltd. & PulsePoints LLC, Old Greenwich CT, whose company markets classic names such as Annick Goutal. “Consumers are seeking out the classics, artesian brands and true perfumer creations that resonate on a deeper level. People will gravitate toward fragrances that evoke nostalgia and provide a bit of an escape.”

Lilly Pulitzer, the fashion brand influenced by the breezy Palm Beach lifestyle, took a colorful leap into the world of beauty with the recent introduction of a fragrance collection.With a wardrobe of three fragrances, each scent is said to capture the essence of Lilly Pulitzer clothing from a feminine floral to a juicy citrus to a fun-in-the-sun beach scent.

“With Lilly Pulitzer, we launched with a wardrobe of scents to represent each facet of the Lilly Lover,” said Ms. Farn about the line.

At Coty, Calvin Klein is rolling out two revamped classics, Eternity Summer and cK Summer. Eternity Summer opens with pear blossom, living lychee and chinese ginger. The heart is wrapped with bright florals of golden mimosa, living pink freesia and magnolia. A soft dry-down of white cedarwood, tonka bean and musk is said to evoke a gentle summer breeze against the skin. The Eternity signature flacon and outer packaging has been newly interpreted for summer with a leaf motif that evokes the breezy green foliage of summer. CK One Summer limited edition fragrance features blue mint and cucumber while citrus notes add juiciness and energy. A water splash accord cascades throughout the fragrance while a delicious rum cocktail adds the sensation of summer indulgence. The vibrant bottle colors capture the mood of a fun-filled summer, splashing in the pool.

The latest men’s rollout for 2009 from DKNY.
Coty is also launching a new interpretation of the signature Euphoria fragrance, Euphoria Spring Temptation, combining lush fruits with a floral heart. The fragrance unfolds with lush pear blossom and guava leaf, mingling with a fluid waterfall accord and an intoxicating heart of pink lily and dewy violet. White sandalwood engages with the pure frosted musk and untouched amber to tantalize the senses. Euphoria Spring Temptation reinterprets the signature flacon design with a new look. The clear glass bottle is graced with a lush, floral design against the pale pink color of the fragrance.

Another seasonal special item, Beautiful Spring Veil, is said to deliver the core signature scent of Estée Lauder’s most popular fragrance, Beautiful, in a limited edition Eau Fraiche Spray. Beautiful Spring Veil, like Beautiful, is a combination of more than a thousand fresh flowers, brightened with citrus and warmed with precious woods. The outer packaging features mylar gold foil and a veil lace pattern as does the bottle. Estée Lauder is also revisiting its popular Pleasures line to include Pleasures Splash, three sheer, spirited scents—Baie Rose Peony, Jasmine Violet and Sandalwood Amber.

Coty’s Marc Jacobs is also rolling out a limited edition summer splash collection with lemon, cucumber and rain varieties. Packaged in oversized clear glass bottles, the square silhouette has become the signature of the Marc Jacob splash scents.

The Gap’s newest fragrance, Close, aims to recapture the brand’s successful past.
Another modern classic, United Colors of Benetton, is set to release an exclusive collection with Kohl’s, Essence of United Colors of Benetton, said to be a duo of modern, timeless scents designed for both men and women. From the colorful, striped bottles to the playful yet sensual juice, the fragrances aim to embody the global yet highly unique personality of the brand. Essence of United Colors of Benetton for Woman is a fruity floral oriental, while Essence of United Colors of Benetton for Man is a fresh scent.

And, Elizabeth Arden is out to create a classic this season. The brand’s newest fragrance, Pretty, features an entirely new floral note named Petalia, according to the company.

Star Power

The curtains go up and flashbulbs go off. The crowd roars in anticipation. A beam of light singles out an actress. What sets her apart? Could it be her fragrance?

The allure of celebrity fragrance in recent years has carved a strong niche market in the fine fragrance category. According to Robin Lane, director of marketing, fine fragrance, Takasago, New York, NY, Gwen Stefani had the most successful celebrity launch in 2008 with her collection of Harajuku Lovers fragrances in line with her clothing brand.

“Their adorable, clever and collectible ‘doll’ packaging houses five great, easy, youthful fragrances that make it hard to choose just one,” said Ms. Lane, noting that in addition, celebrities have been seen as spokespeople in fragrance campaigns—adding to the star power.

Another category leader in celebrity fragrances is Parlux of Fort Lauderdale, FL, which markets fragrances from boldface names such as Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson, among others. How does Parlux do it?

“Provide entertainment at retail and the consumers will come to the counter,” said Neil Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Parlux, about the company’s success with celebrity brands.

According to Mr. Katz, Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson will launch new fragrances this summer. Queen Latifah, Nicole Miller and Josie Natori will also introduce scents this season. In September, Parlux will introduce Marc Ecko’s fragrance.

“Each brand reaches a different demographic and comes to the counter with a fresh and unique spin. This is fragrance as entertainment from personalities whom the consumer sees as approachable and fun,” said Mr. Katz about the launches.

Coty is another major player in the celebrity fragrance category. In December, the company signed Grammy Award-winning, country music star Faith Hill to develop and market her own debut fragrance for Fall/Winter 2009 in major retailers across North America. It also recently inked deal in which the Coty Beauty division will distribute the Puig Beauty & Fashion Group’s Antonio Banderas fragrance lines in the U.S. In the Fall of 2008, the brand launched Antonio Banderas’ Blue Seduction for Women, a counterpart scent to the popular men’s fragrance, Blue Seduction for Men.

In tune with warmer weather ahead, Coty Prestige and Jennifer Lopez are set to launch Sunkissed, the latest addition to her signature fragrance line. Touted as a floral fruity sensual scent, Sunkissed features a tropical top of ruby red grapefruit, pineapple juice and cassis sorbet, with a floral center and a woodsy base. The bottle is crafted from smooth, frosted glass and splashed with a soft gradient palette of burnt orange, sandy yellow, and crisp mossy green. A bonus trinket adds a personal touch—a wearable seashell charm bracelet.

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker expanded her Lovely fragrance collection with three new scents for 2009—Dawn, Endless and Twilight—which are said to encompass the spirit of the city from morning to dusk. The florals of the scents are mimicked on the packaging with watercolors painted by New York City artist wunderkind Sarah Singh.

Finally, for those coveting the scent of stardom, Avon is rolling out Spotlight for Spring 2009. According to the company, it was created to capture the spine-tingling thrill of taking center stage. Actress Courteney Cox has signed on to be the face of the campaign. To convey the feeling of being in the spotlight, the fragrance is captured in a chic, glimmering “quilted” glass bottle to mimic reflective light. The top notes of Spotlight feature an icy silver accord joining citrus with sun-ripened mandarin pure and Italian bergamot essence, extracted via cold press from the peel of the fruit. At the heart of the fragrance are deluxe naturals only available from International Flavors and Fragrances’ exclusive Laboratorie Monique Remy, a state-of-the-art laboratory and manufacturing facility in France.

“Perfumers are now being brought to the forefront, giving the consumer more exposure to their craft,” noted Isabel Ryan, director, creative fragrance development, Avon, New York, NY, about modern fragrances such as Spotlight.

Fashion Forward

True recessionistas know that if you can’t afford the clothing, try a designer fragrance to whet your fashion appetite when the wallet’s slim. This season, a slew of top clothing names such as Prada, Armani and even Bebe are rolling out fashion-forward juices—in stylish packaging, of course.

“The designer brands seemed to be out in force in 2008,” observed Mr. Mara at Berje.

One of these rollouts is Infusion de Fleur d’Oranger from Prada. It is part of the Ephemeral Infusion Collection, a family of yearly, limited edition fragrances derived from Prada’s Exclusive Scent range launched in 2003. In the fragrance, orange blossom absolute and neroli are augmented through sparkling mandarin oil, and mixed with jasmine and tuberose. The glass flacon echoes the design of vintage perfume bottles, and the art deco style design is inspired by a print from Prada’s fabric archives. The splash bottle comes with a small 30ml portable flask and a funnel to enable the wearer to display the original larger bottle at home and travel with the smaller size.

Chloe is also rolling out a portable scent this season, Lisy, which is a purse spray offered in a limited-edition leather case.

Fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez has been in the fashion spotlight recently for dressing First Lady Michelle Obama in several memorable gowns. Now he’s launching a signature fragrance for women exclusive to Saks Fifth Avenue stores. As the designer’s olfactive signature, musk is at the heart of essence, complemented by notes of rose petals, iris and hints of amber.

Another Saks exclusive, Onde by Armani, is a trilogy of neo-Oriental fragrances—or reinterpretations of classic Orientals—described as “ultra-feminine and refined,” by the company. Onde Mystère is an oriental musk; Onde Vertige, a floral oriental; and Onde Extase, a woody oriental. A natural silk tassel on the packaging adds to the allure of the scent.

Inter Parfums has several fashion-related rollouts for Spring 2009. The company recently recruited Gary McNatton and his team at Through Smoke Creative of Sausalito, CA, as its creative director for Gap personal care products. He is the winner of numerous Fragrance Foundation FiFi awards, including two for Gap fragrances. This month, his latest creation as part of his creative role at Gap, is a scent called Close, will debut in all Gap stores. According to Inter Parfums, the scent is a “transparent, sparkling, citrus floral” in the fresh floral musk family and will be packaged in an egg-shaped bottle.

Gap’s sister company Banana Republic is also rolling out the Discover Collection, a set of fragrances that feature light, delicate notes of fresh florals such as water hyacinth, imperial peony, lotus flower and rose.

Jean Madar, chief executive officer of Inter Parfums, said that there are more big fashion launches on deck for 2009.

“For the Banana Republic brand, we have new fragrances for men and women debuting in North America in late August or early September with international rollout shortly thereafter,” he said in a statement to the press. “Our Bebe signature fragrance will be unveiled at Bebe stores in the U.S. in August, followed by worldwide distribution later in the third quarter. In addition to a new fragrance called Black Fleece, we have the Brooks Brothers New York collection for men and women slated for its international launch in the second half of 2009.”

Mr. Madar added that while the company discontinued the bath and body program for New York & Company, it plans to introduce a new fragrance for the stores in the second half of 2009.

Just for Men

While overall fragrance sales are down, men’s fragrances are actually expected to perform better than women’s scents in the market, according to a report from Euromonitor, as guys grow increasingly comfortable with wearing fragrance.

“Masculine fragrances have become more daring with boosted doses of key fresh fragrance ingredients, such as mint in Cartier Roadster and ginger in Dior Homme Sport,” said Ms. Lane of Takasago. “Sexy woody fragrances topped off with freshness have also stormed the men’s market with Burberry the Beat, Emporio Armani Diamonds for Men, Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme and 91X Rocawear.”

There are a slew of captivating rollouts for Spring and Summer 2009—all with unique scent stories and eye-catching packaging.

Eternity for Men Summer features notes of a gin and tonic cocktail with lime, complemented by icy bergamot and mountain air. Fresh pepper, basil and chamomile form the aromatic middle. The rich dry down of white amber, hinoki wood and a touch of anise wrap the skin with warmth.

Another lifestyle brand, Guess by Marciano, will launch a men’s fragrance this Spring. Guess by Marciano Fragrance for Men intrigues with a top note of frozen ginger mandarin and iced tonic freshness heightened with crushed black pepper. Notes of lavender, fresh sage and rosemary entice as this rich, spicy and woody fragrance evolves. Lush violet leaf, neroli petals and sparkling star fruit enhance the core.

R&B star Usher launched a limited-edition fragrance in the Fall of 2008, UR for Men, which is described as an energetic, fresh aromatic. A lush sea breeze accord is combined with crisp fruits, while the heart features nutmeg, Thai basil, bay oil and artemisia. A blend of guaiac wood, cashmere wood and sandalwood lingers in the dry down. UR for Men joins Usher’s signature fragrance Usher for Men which launched in Fall 2007.

Some Staple Selections

DKNY, the brand of all things New York, will introduce a new men’s scent inspired by the city. DKNYMEN features a twist of bergamot and mandarin atop juniper and clary sage. Spicy notes of white pepper and cardamom complement lavender infused with violet leaves and jasmine. A touch of sandalwood, cedarwood and patchouli layed over orris and vetiver add a masculine edge, according to the company. The bottle got its inspiration from the famed Flat Iron building, while the carton features a vintage-style aerial view looking uptown at the Empire State Building.

Kenneth Cole hopes his new scent, Reaction T-Shirt, will become a wardrobe staple like its ubiquitous namesake. It is said to capture the effortless attitude of the white t-shirt: cool, refreshing and comfortable. The fragrance opens with top notes of green apple and yellow passion fruit. Aromatic woods of lavender and a gin and tonic accord add a savory sophistication. A dry-down of cedarwood and a cotton accord add to the mix.

The bottle is a reinterpretation of the original Reaction bottle with crystal clear glass. Topped with a matte silver cap, the bottle has a fabric logo inspired by the iconic white t-shirt.

Finally, the third time may be the charm for John Varvatos. The menswear designer’s third fragrance, a spicy citrus scent called Artisan, debuted recently as the latest addition to the designer’s collection from JV Fragrances & Skincare.

According to the company, Artisan completes the trilogy of the John Varvatos men’s fragrance portfolio. Hand-woven rattan in a rich caramel color encases the flask, giving each bottle its own eclectic character.

A Fragrant Future

The fine fragrance category will take a “back to basics” approach for 2010 and beyond, according to industry insiders, as brands will revisit popular product launches and interpret scent stories to entice that repeat customer. Travel-friendly sizes for the gal/guy on the go will also be a top trend in the upcoming year.

“Reinventing categories, like woods for women, will be big,” noted Ms. Khoury at Estée Lauder. “We’ve just begun to scratch the surface on a lot of rich notes that will drive the broadening of the olfactive portfolio.”

“We imagine the trend of woods and edibles to continue for women, softened with florals and soft musks, as well as untapped gourmand notes,” added Ms. Lane at Takasago. “For men, we can expect the trend of elegance and sophistication to linger.”

Tropical and healthy superfruits—such as mango, pineapple, guava, papaya, acai and blueberry—will also hit big for the next generation of fine fragrance, said Mr. Corley at Trilogy, as “health and wellbeing continue to transcend fragrance marketing.”

Portability is also on the rise in fine fragrance, as “consumers are very mobile and want fragrance, a key part of their life, with them on the go,” said Ms. Khoury.

Ms. Lee at Euromonitor noted that smaller sizes enable marketers to broaden their catalog of offerings. She told Happi,“The smaller sizes appeal to younger consumers, as they offer a lower price point.”

She also points to “more novel formats” such as Clinique Happy fragrance pencil and DKNY Cashmere Mist fragrance body powder as “fun products that help manufacturers create excitement for the loyal customer, while being cheaper than developing a new fragrance or flanker.”

According to Mr. Deputato at IRI, the category can expect much of the same for 2010 and beyond, as, “celebrity will continue, designer will be important and grow and shoppers will stick with the staples through this economy.”

Ms. Bloom at The Fragrance Foundation sees it differently—the heart of fragrance will triumph over these trying times. She noted, “There will be less launches, less reliance on celebrity and more focus on the artistry, magic and the mystery of fragrance.”

2009 FiFi Awards Set for May 27 in New York

It’s nearly time to celebrate the fabulousity of fragrance once again. The Fragrance Foundation’s landmark event, the 2009 FiFi Awards, is set for May 27 at the Downtown Armory in New York City. Attended by more than 1,000 personalities from the fragrance and fashion world, the FiFi Awards are presented by celebrities from stage, screen, fashion and television.Each year, this much-anticipated gala celebrates the fabulous fragrances and the creative achievements of the fragrance community.

“We have created additional award categories this year to showcase and encourage the new, the inventive, the original adding to the spirit of the evening,” noted Ms. Bloom, “including Unique Boutique honoring visionary entrepreneurs, Best in Blog embracing our newest information highway and Perfume Extraordinaire recognizing the actual ‘juice’ of a fine fragrance.” Also this year, The Fragrance Foundation will honor Paris Hilton as its celebrity of the year.

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