Fall into the Familiar

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | September 4, 2013

From votives to sprays, shoppers are seeking sentiment this season in home fragrance.

As the air gets a little cooler, consumers want the warmth and coziness in air care products that are associated with the change of seasons. There are many big trends for Fall 2013 ranging from the traditional familiar seasonal gourmand scents like pumpkin, cinnamon and apple to more elegant, darker, richer, musk, woody scents and sandalwood, according to Jennifer Ahoni, research and development engineer for air care at Procter & Gamble.

Consumers also want a little bit of that “old-school” nostalgia as the holidays approach, achieved through retro and vintage items, noted Ahoni. And this desire shows in the increase in home fragrance product sales in both the mass and prestige markets.

In the air freshener category for 52-week period ending July 14, 2013, sales rose 6% to $2.6 billion in total US multi-outlets (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains), according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Consumers are still on the move, as automobile air fresheners leaped 33.9% to $287.2 million in sales, while home air fresheners grew 1.2% to $2.04 billion. And artisan styles have garnered allure, as potpourri and sachets jumped 26.9% to $231.8 million in IRI’s data.

Driven by sales of luxury candles in prestige, the overall growth of the US home fragrances market is set alight. Thanks to these simple luxuries, the market growth reached 3.5% in 2012 and is the highest recorded over the past five years, according to Kline’s recently published Home Fragrances: US Market Analysis and Opportunities report. Prestige candles collectively posted a 6% gain due to the exceptional performance from brands like Lafco, Trapp and Nest.

While packaging plays a strong role in product presentation and candles are offered in all types of eye-catching containers, shapes and sizes, the driving force behind the category’s growth, by a nose, was scent. According to Karen Doskow, Kline’s consumer products practice industry manager, “While scent is the leading purchase criterion, marketers should not neglect the importance of delivering important information in their packaging of candles and diffusers. Consumers surveyed overwhelmingly responded that knowing upfront the burn time or longevity of home fragrance products is key.”

Hot Trends
Kline found that among the most popular in the recent year, travel and destination scents went places with mass-marketer Air Wick promoting the great outdoors, indoors, with its National Parks-themed fragrance. The brand also recently released new Car Filters & Freshens air fresheners.

Masculine scents and containers also got noses twitching and wallets opening with Party Lite launching Ebony Oud Square Pillar and Wooden Wick Candle, which features a rustic, textured finish with a masculine appeal. Nest’s After Midnight candle collection, inspired by Ke$ha’s “Take It Off,” offers three “alluring” scents sheathed in dark-black translucent glass.

Wax melts continue to register their highest gain since 2007 as several new smaller marketers enter the fold. The switch to wax melts from simmering oils is primarily driven by safety issues and the increase in consumer demand. Scentsy, a leading wax melt manufacturer, has further infused its position with new scents including A Wink & A Smile, Honey Do!, Lemons & Berries and Lilacs & Violets. According to Mark Stastny, chief marketing officer, Scentsy, Meridian, ID, the company is drumming up even more innovations for the season.

He told Happi, “Continuing the trend of wanting more choices in the home fragrance market, our customers have told us they sometimes want to warm fragrance without a light. In response, Scentsy introduced Element Warmers, which use a heating element to gently heat our wax without a light bulb. These are perfect for offices, dorms and bedrooms.”

From a distribution standpoint, internet sales continue to heat up as candle consumers forego the mall and purchase their favorite candles online, according to Kline. For example, Air Wick’s website features “Find the perfect product for you,” an interactive tool that assists consumers by finding the ideal fragrance and color based on their choices.

The continued growth of the wholesome and sustainable lifestyle trend is also big for the season, according to Tom Havran, a communicator of natural living for Aura Cacia, Urbana, IA. His aromatherapy company recently rolled out a set of yoga-mat mists in fragrances such as Sweet Orange & Peppermint and Tea Tree & Lemon.

“The aromas of natural essential oils incorporate seamlessly into the yogic lifestyle and shoppers are looking for products that feature them prominently in aroma-therapeutic delivery systems like: purifying yoga mat sprays, inspiring yoga studio diffusers, meditative incense, soothing body massage products and Chakra-balancing personal essences,” he told Happi. “Even if they rarely hit the yoga mat, consumers are buying in to the healthy cachet that yoga and essential oils provide to fragrance their homes.”

A Little R&R
When it comes to falling asleep, what you do before you climb into bed can make a big difference. The sights, sounds and even smells in your bedroom are known to affect how you feel about sleep, as well as the quality of your sleep throughout the night.
More and more consumers are looking to infuse their settings with relaxing fragrances. For example, of the biggest launches in mass this season from Febreze is the new Sleep Serenity collection, comprised of the following three scents: Moonlit Lavender, Warm Milk & Honey and Quiet Jasmine. All scents are available in a Bedroom Mist, Bedding Refresher, Bedside Diffuser and a Bedroom Diffuser Plug-In.

According to Ahoni of P&G, “With our three scents we strive to achieve sophistication, indulgence, elegance, with a little sweetness and femininity. For example, our Moonlit Lavender has traditional elements of an herbaceous lavender, but with a unique twist of soft white florals and a blend of delicate powder and musk notes. This combination allows our lavender to be very comfortable in a sophisticated way.”

Fellow home fragrance innovator The Yankee Candle Company’s new Relaxing Rituals line features a blend of three different essential oils that creates a special fragrance combination designed to soothe the mind, body and soul and provide an easy, relaxing ritual that fits busy lifestyles, according to the company. The Relaxing Rituals line offers warmer oils, reed diffusers, votive candles and tumbler candles in four new soothing scents—Calm (a blend of vanilla, lavender and sandalwood), Comfort (a blend of rose, cardamom and cedarwood), Tranquil (a blend of spearmint, water lily and sea salt) and Refresh (a blend of mandarin, sage and eucalyptus).

But not all is calming at Yankee; the brand is also rolling out Fan Candles this season featuring authentic logos of 27 top colleges and universities across the country.

“Candles continue to remain a top trend because people are using favorite fragrances to transform their homes into a relaxing environment,” noted Scott Wehrs, president, MVP Brands, parent company of Colonial Candle, Charleston, SC. “The flicker of a candle flame also creates an ambiance within a home that creates a relaxing oasis after a long day’s work. The Do-It-Yourself trend is still popular, probably even more so now with Pinterest to inspire people to express their own creativity, making our fragranced Simmer Snaps wax melts popular, too.”

Simmer Snaps deliver fragrance without having an open flame. Available in more than 60 fragrances, the cubes can be broken apart and placed in an electric wax melts warmer. They also give consumers the freedom to create their own signature fragrances by combining multiple scents. 

Colonial Candle has introduced three new collections for the Fall and holiday season that evoke these trends, including a new, limited edition Vail Destinations line that transport consumers to the ski slopes with Lift Ticket and Ski Lodge scents, or an evening curled up by the fire with the fragrances of Toasted Marshmallow and Amber Port, without ever leaving home.

Shelley Callaghan, co-founder and creative director, Antica Farmacista, Seattle, WA, agrees that coziness is key for Fall 2013 home fragrances.

“Whether a candle, a room spray or a diffuser, I think there is a strong trend for classic comforting fragrances this Fall,” she told Happi in an interview. “We find there is a close correlation between personal perfume preferences and the fragrances our customers want in their homes. And currently, I’m seeing a movement toward more unisex fragrances for the body, thus I believe the same desires will hold true for the home. Simple, warm and comfort-inducing scents are on the horizon. A nod to something classic with a touch of sophisticated edible/gourmand type notes—think cognac, amber, deep woods and vanilla.”

The latest rollout from Antica Farmacista, available in both candles, sprays and reed diffusers, is inspired by a classic cocktail, the Manhattan. Top notes of zesty satsuma and bergamot citrus balance the spice of aromatic black pepper. A subtle brandied cherry note is an elegant accompaniment to the rich notes of deep cognac, vetiver, amber and bourbon.

Fellow upscale home fragrance company Archipelago is also amping up its offerings with five collections for holiday: Winter Frost,
Harvest, Stocking Stuffers, Traditional Holiday and AB Home Metallics.

Glade’s Sense & Spray Automatic Fresheners also recently got a makeover, now with a 360-degree design with multiple sensors to fit most décor and design scenarios.

Faces Going Places
Besides the usual cast of characters dominating the home fragrance fray, some new contenders are entering the arena, armed with enthusiasm and innovation.

For example, a few months before launching his home line, Frédéric Malle decided to add to the Fleur Mécaniques and Candles, a “high tech” version of the classic, lavender sachet, that he called Rubber Incense. The idea originated from candle prototypes scented with Saint des Saints perfume hidden in Frédéric Malle’s closet. Designed to perfume small spaces like closets, dressing rooms or car interiors, Rubber Incense releases perfume for a long time without using electricity or a refill. Malle had designed these plastic slabs—made of 100% recyclable ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA)— after discovering IFF’s patented Polyiff process, which enables a scent to permeate a plastic material.  All of these new Rubber Incense perfumes already exist as candles, developed by fine fragrance perfumers Sophia Grojsman, Carlos Benaïm and Bruno Jovanovic.

Blended, poured and packaged by hand, Love Nature NYC’s 8oz artisan candles are said to fill any room with a soothing aroma and burn for about 80 hours, according to the Brooklyn-based company. The Inspired by Nature Collection uses only natural soy wax and features custom blended fragrances such as Sweet Mandarin & Sandalwood or Limoncello & Tomato Leaf. The Transcentdence line offers three soy/beeswax blended candles called 1969, Peace Pipe and Supersoul.

“I think the top trend for the fragrance during the seasonal changeover is fresh, clean and as natural as possible,” said Jared Gettinger, founder of Love Nature NYC, Brooklyn, NY. “People are going to spend more time indoors and they’re tired of fake smelling fragrances.” 

Gettinger also added that packaging counts in a candle sale, as “shoppers are looking for something that stands out, because there are so many options in the marketplace right now. They want it to look unique so they can gift it, or proudly display it in their homes.”

Ayres Beauty executives also know a thing or two about the allure of quality home fragrance.  After 18 years in the luxury perfumes and cosmetics industry, founder and president Alejandro Rasic decided to leave the corporate life to create his own aromatherapy line.

During his tenure with Estée Lauder, Kenzo and Givenchy Parfums, he became inspired to develop an all-natural personal care collection infused with pure essential oils. Of course, there had to be complementary candles. There are two soy versions in the collection—Calming, with delicate floral scents of rose, jasmine and orange blossom combined with the soothing tones of sandalwood; and Energizing, an invigorating splash of lime and mint blended with a fresh breeze of thyme.

“Consumers are looking for home fragrance products that have aromatherapy properties such as relaxing or calming scents,” said Rasic, founder and president of Ayres Beauty, Miami, FL. “People like to relax at home and enjoy contemporary aromas. Consumers are savvy and look for candles that will burn evenly and that are made with pure cotton wicks.”

Some brands are looking at packaging differently to make their home fragrances unique. Inspired by Southern nostalgia, the Homestead range features vessels containing mixed materials of antique brass, hammered copper and woven cotton. The collection is available in three pieces: Hammered Metal Canister, Octagon Tea Tin and Metal Tumbler. The 20oz Hammered Metal Canister comes with a hand-stamped cotton hangtag and is reminiscent of sugar and flour canisters from the shelves of local mercantile stores. The 16oz Octagon Tea Tin also bears the hand-stamped cotton tag and is inspired by vintage tins that would have housed spices and tea blends imported overseas. Scent variations vary from Ambrosia, a mix of citrus and coconut; to Sundry, magnolia with a hint of fresh linen.

Fueling the Fire
If Holiday 2013 is going to be anything like the rollouts for Fall 2013, expect even more heartening fragrances and uplifting, giftable packaging, note industry insiders.

“Bright pops of color inspired by fashion and home décor trends are still trending for Fall and Holiday 2013 combined with fragrances that match the strength and vibrancy of those hues,” said Wehrs of Colonial Candle. Think Cranberry Spice, Frankincense & Fir, Popcorn Garland and Vanilla Eggnog.

Upcoming inclinations to look out for during the holidays are unique variations on time-tested classics, observed Gettinger.  “Adding unusual scent notes to popular fragrances like balsam or spruce could really set a fragrance apart from the pack of same-olds,” he said.

Ultimately, the top trend moving into the new year is being Home for the Holidays. According to Callaghan of Antica Farmacista, “If this is truly the case, our customers want to create the most inviting and comfortable setting. This is the season to open the doors of our home to guests and embrace the celebratory holiday season. The goal is to create comfort within our homes and the fragrance trends of the season will answer this call.”

She continued, “Candles are not new to the scene, but the winter season commands the warmth of fire and we think candles are on the rise. The trend this holiday season is to burn multiple fragrances (and multiple styles) throughout one’s living space, again creating a personalized scent. By utilizing beautiful vessels, the effort to ‘scent’ also becomes a decorative gesture. The holiday season brings out the luxury in all of us.”

Escential Jars a top choice at Partylite

These little jars boast big color and scent.
• What’s the world’s most popular new candle? It just may be the Escential Jar by PartyLite. The Blyth-owned company has already sold its one-millionth Escential Jar by PartyLite candle—only seven months after the candle’s marketplace introduction. 
When PartyLite asked customers what they really yearned for, Rob Goergen, president of PartyLite Worldwide, said, “they told us they wanted a long-lasting, affordably priced, decorative jar candle that provided an even more powerful fragrance throw—and lots of different fragrance choices. So we created the Escential Jar by PartyLite candle and introduced it in December 2012. It quickly became an incredible best-seller all over the world.”

The Escential Jar by PartyLite is only 3.5 inches high with a 3-inch diameter. According to the company, its highly fragranced wax formula wraps a room in rich scent offering a color to suit every decorating scheme. Burn time is 40-60 hours; price is $15. All PartyLite wicks are lead-free and 100% cotton. 

According to Goergen, consumers quickly warm up to this candle. “The great fun with this particular candle is watching people fall in love with it,” he said. “Give one to somebody—as I often do—and watch what happens. They immediately become devoted fans!”

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