Love Is in the Air

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | August 29, 2011

Consumers are loyal to home fragrance products but first, marketers must capture their attention.

Consumers have never been more sophisticated than they are now, and for that reason, they are demanding truly innovative home fragrance products. As a result, marketers are rolling out everything from high-end scent stories—think vanilla bean fused with lavender—to novel shapes, such as pillar candles that give a more upscale look to a room.

And there’s a lot of competition out there in the home fragrance segment. According to data from SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm, sales of home air fresheners were nearly flat at $849.5 million for the year ended July 10, 2011 at supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandise outlets excluding Walmart. Glade Plug-Ins led the way at $125.8 million, followed by home air fresheners from Airwick, Glade, Febreze Air Effects and Febreze Noticeables. Candle sales fell 3% to $643.3 million for the year. Private label candles held the most interest with consumers, as sales weighed in at $105.2 million. Other leading brands include Glade, Betty Crocker, Reeds and Village Candle.

In the past decade, US air care sales have risen 6% a year to reach $3.3 billion, according to Karen Doskow, an industry manager with Kline & Company. Yankee Candle has surpassed SC Johnson to become the No. 1 player in the category, she added. Rounding out the top five players after SC Johnson are Bath & Body Works (Limited Brands), Reckitt Benckiser and Procter & Gamble. The big fragrances for 2011 are pomegranate and lemonade, according to Kline data.

Festive Fall & Holiday Cheer

Candle Warmers, Etc. is rolling out a Halloween-themed Illumination Fragrance Warmer.

The newest fragrances for the season capture the spirit and nostalgia of fall traditions and events. For example, at category leader Yankee Candle, new scents include Nature’s Paintbrush, a woodsy blend of citrus, sandalwood, amber and musk; Over the River, a nature-inspired scent that features fragrance notes of mandarin, soft oakmoss, lavender and sandalwood; Kitchen Spice, with hints of exotic spice notes including almond, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom; Pumpkin Buttercream, a creamy combination of two Yankee Candle classics; and Vanilla Satin, a smooth blend of floral notes with rich vanilla.

“Our vibrant new fall fragrance collection evokes wonderful seasonal memories such as time outdoors with family or baking favorite autumn treats,” said Hope Margala Klein, senior vice president, brand, design and innovation for The Yankee Candle Company, Inc., South Deerfield, MA. “Whether in our classic large jar or in a tumbler or votive, our fall fragrances are the ideal home décor accent and add a sense of warmth and comfort.”

For fall, Yankee Candle is also introducing its new Perfect Pillar, which gives consumers new decorating possibilities. According to Doreen Smith, vice president of design and development, Yankee Candle, the pillar is “dressed in smooth glass with a removable label, and it combines elegant pillar style and Yankee fragrance with the versatility to complement any décor.” And, because it’s in glass, consumers don’t have to worry about dripping wax making a mess. It is designed to fit standard pillar holders and it works well with the small tumbler candle to create striking arrangements creating endless, simple, decorating options.

Also in mass, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day is rolling out limited edition scented soy candles in October to add “a little warmth to winter,” according to the company. The seasonal selections include Crisp Iowa Pine, Spicy Orange Clove, Tart Cranberry and Spice Cake.

“Making the transition indoors after a hot, steamy summer with nearly non-stop air conditioning is going to require welcoming and cozy scents that remind consumers how much they love their homes and entertaining those most dear within them,” said Pam Helms, chief innovation officer for Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and Caldrea in Minneapolis, MN. “Clever food trends that combine sweet and savory will be transposed for home ambience.”

The Caldrea Company is set to release three new limited run scents inspired by the traditions of the season. They include Pineapple Cardamom, featuring warm spicy notes of cardamom, anise and blackpepper with a twist of citrus and dark tonka bean; Balsam Fir Plum, a cool blend of cypress, fir and cedar with a heart of sugared plum and violet along with subtle amber notes; and Crimson Pear Ginger, aholiday pomander of ripe fruits and treasured spices. These scents are featured in a linen & room spray and candle form.

Slatkin & Co. is launching new fall home fragrance candles, diffusers and “scentportables,” too. The Fall Treats range showcases a delectable collection of sweet fall aromas, according to the company. Inspired by the season’s fresh-baked fragrances, each candle emits sweet, spicy scents and rich, creamy notes. The collection includes: Pumpkin Caramel Latte, S’mores, Maple Buttercream, Apple Crumble, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie, Salty Caramel and Spiced Cider.

The brand is also releasing the Into The Woods Collection, a home fragrance story inspired by an autumn stroll through the forest. This line includes Woodland Berry, Marshmallow Fireside, Mountain Leaves, Fresh Balsam and Fireside.

At Chesapeake Bay Candle, the consumer demand for simplicity in an increasingly complex and busy world is a top trend satiated by its new Fall 2011 collection, according to Mareike Finck, public relations and marketing manager for Chesapeake Bay Candle, Rockville, MD. The Chesapeake Bay Candle Home Collection is a chic but simple home décor statement.

“With the economy still not in complete upswing, we wanted to design a collection that would transport consumers back to a time when joys were simple, great design meant minimalism, and personal spaces were less cluttered,” explained Finck. “Our goal was to create candles and home fragrance that would allow even the most urban environments to harvest the energy of the great outdoors. The result is a quietly luxurious home fragrance line featuring organic shapes and textures with vaguely familiar fragrances.”

Fragrances include Midnight Air, Thyme Verbena, Vanilla Crème, Golden Amber, Cinnamon Chai and Teakwood Mahogany contained within minimalist chic vessels made of shaped ceramics in a décor friendly palette and complete with a matte finish, she told Happi.

Also soon to be big in the marketplace are holiday-inspired products. According to Chris Barnes, president, Candle Warmers Etc., Woods Cross, UT,holiday-related scents figure to be bigger this year than last and everyone seems to have a different explanation as to why this will be.

“The most popular explanation seems to be that an increase in popularity and sales in holiday items has picked up as retail sales have picked up,” he observed. “To that end, we are very excited about our new scents this fall including Christmas Day, Santa’s Cookies and Under the Mistletoe.”

Among the company’s new Illumination Fragrance Warmers are ideal table toppers for holiday gatherings, including Fall Leaves, a ceramic pitcher with a gold tone leaf motif, and a Santa complete with peppermint scented wax melts. New Jack-o-lantern and Snowman Plug-in Fragrance also use scented oils and wax melts.

Exotic Choices

For those who are searching for something a little more obscure than the traditional seasonal scents, home fragrance marketers are also rolling out a bountiful array of unique combinations in everything from candles to room mists. Why? Because apple pie or peppermint aren’t for everyone, note industry experts.

“We believe the combination of clean citrus and sweet scents like vanilla and citrus, as well as the combination of traditional florals like geranium and rose, will be the most popular scent stories because citrus and vanilla are warming and comforting, the perfect fall scent combination, and rose scents are perennial, classic favorites, noted Hugo Saavedra, founders of Hugo Naturals, Chatsworth, CA.His company is having success with these scent stories.

In fact, zesty citrus and romantic floral variations are getting a lot of play these days in home fragrance. Personal care and household product marketer Thymes recently introduced Bergamot Vert, an invigorating collection that evokes the uplifting aroma of fresh bergamot after a summer downpour in the Mediterranean, according to the company. A bright, luminous scent, Bergamot Vert blends essential oils with luscious notes of sun-drenched citrus, crisp balsamic cypress, light jasmine and a whisper of musk in both a candle and home fragrance mist.

Lisa Hoffman Beauty has two new elegant candles inspired by her fragrance collection. The Madagascar Orchid features a bouquet of sheer jasmine, ylang ylang dew, mimosa and pink peony framing the orchid; while another variation features an earthy scent of Japanese Agarwood accented with the zest of bergamot, the Zen-like ambiance of spiced ginger and the comfort of warm amber, according to the company.

Another upscale fragrance line, Odin, also branched out into home fragrance recently with a line of candles at Barneys. The debut set of four unisex fragrances: 01 Sunda, 02 Owari, 03 Century and 04 Petrana evoked the exoticism of travel and a modern approach to time-honored fragrance traditions, according to the company.

The clean, monochromatic lines that were synonymous with the packaging of Odin Fragrances have been applied to the sleek translucent black glass that encases the hand poured slate colored wax. As the wick burns, the flame takes on an amber hue, drawing a direct relation to the amber liquid of the fragrances. The black metal lid of each candle mirrors the soft-touch matte cap of Odin Fragrances and also functions as a stand for the candles when in use.

Each candle is unique in its complex structures and distinguished notes, according to the company. For example, 03 Century captivates the senses with silver birch, cypress and forest mint. The liquid myrrh ingredient is combined with vetiver, patchouli and moss for a transparent woodsy scent, according to the company. The 04 Petrana candle reveals a dark complexion from the foundation of wild orris root and green violet leaf absolute. Herbaceous coriander, spicy pink pepper and deep purple cassis float coalesce into a luminous floral.

Smells Like Growth

Following a period of decline triggered by the economic recession, the global market for air fresheners is growing, according to a report available on companiesandmarket.com. Its “Air Freshener: A Global Strategic Business” report predicts that the market is expected to reach $8.3 billion by 2015, with growth driven by consumer desire to use decorative fragrance products such as candles as well as health and mood boosting aromatherapy fragrances within the home. The most popular and fastest growing division is sprays and aerosols, followed by electric plug-in air fresheners, said the report.

Doskow of Kline anticipates that the air care category will post 2-3% growth in the future, led by direct sales and other new channels of distribution.

But still, mass-market shoppers are propelling the home fragrance marketplace with their seasonal purchases.

“We are seeing a very big demand for wax cubes or melt warming products,” said Barnes of Candle Warmers. “Our Illumination Fragrance Warmers and Candle Warmer and Dish products are posting triple-digit growth over last year. Retailers, both independent gift stores and large chain retailers, are aggressively expanding their product offering or introducing these types of products for fall.”

To fill this increased demand, Candle Warmers Etc. is introducing seven new Illumination Fragrance Warmers and five new Plug-In Fragrance Warmers this year along with four new Jaime Clair Wax Melt scents.

In terms of fragrance trends, marketers continue to see the “clarity/transparency trend” still going strong. According to Finck of Chesapeake Bay Candle, “Our world is a complex place and consumers’ lives are getting busier and busier. They look to counterbalance these tendencies and home fragrance has to respond to that with clean scents that are understandable and not overpowering. The need for simplicity will also be addressed through design, packaging, colors and textures.”

Smith at Yankee Candle agreed that a back-to-basics approach coupled with innovation is the key to moving the home fragrance category forward. She said, “Simple, easy to use products she [the consumer] can trust are the things she is looking for and that is what we at Yankee Candle aim to deliver. Ways to deliver her fragrance experience more quickly, as well as delivering fragrances in new and different ways is something we see as a trend for the future.”

Febreze Sales Top $1 Billion

Febreze air fresheners have joined P&G’s billion-dollar brand club. Spokesman Lee Bansil said that Febreze revenue over the past 12 months hit $1 billion, giving P&G 24 brands that bring in revenue of $1 billion or more.

Febreze officials have said sales held up during the recession as people spent more time at home, giving them more reason to care about how their homes smelled.

P&G also expanded its air-freshener business through acquisition, acquiring Ambi Pur last year from Sara Lee Corp. for $470 million to increase its air care presence from 17 countries to 84.

The latest rollout at Febreze is Set & Refresh, an air freshener that eliminates odors while releasing a fresh scent, according to the company. Set & Refresh lasts noticeably longer than cones because it slowly releases scented oils. Also new is the Febreze Wooden Wick Candle, said to bring the ambiance and sound of a crackling fire indoors. Available in a variety of Febreze Home Collections scents, this candle burns for up to 80 hours and is available in exotic scents such as Willow

Blossom and Green Tea Citrus.

According to Mintel, Febreze continues to pop up in some less than likely places. From January through September 2010, the brand was featured in 37 new product releases. Beyond products such as candles or even laundry detergents that traditionally feature fragrance, Febreze is showing up in the less expected sponges, mops, dusters and dry cloths segment and beyond.

Febreze recently launched its Breathe Happy campaign, proving to real people around the world that Febreze freshness can transform the air so people can breathe happy no matter what, according to the company. The revolutionary TV advertising surprises the senses of everyday people by proving Febreze’s high-quality odor elimination and freshness capabilities in extreme odor experiments.

Following the advertising debut in July, Febreze will spread Breathe Happy across the country at events and on www.facebook.com/ febreze with live freshness experiments, user-generated rewards and free product giveaways.


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