Features

It’s Show Time

By Christine Esposito, Associate Editor | November 4, 2013

The fine fragrance category hits its stride in just in time for the holiday selling season.

Bolstered by launches from a preppy designer, a beauty industry stalwart and a Brit boy band, the fine fragrance category appears to be hitting its stride at just the right time. The ever-critical Holiday selling season kicks off this month on Black Friday (or a bit sooner for some retailers), and what often follows is much-needed shot in the arm for sales of perfumes and colognes.

According to NPD Group data released in August, US prestige fragrance performance in the first half of 2013 was up 4%—but it was showing less energy overall than the same period a year ago, when sales increased 8%. From January 2013 through August 2013, sales of prestige fragrances at US department stores totaled nearly $1.45 billion, with women’s scents up 2.5% and men’s ahead 4.8%.

“Fragrance is positive, but it’s not dynamic right now,” Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group, explained to Happi in October. “But, it is turning a corner, ramping up, and getting wind behind it.” 

Grant expects the prominent launches that hit counters during the summer months, and others making their way to the market this season, to help propel sales as the year comes to a close.

“There’s a strong lineup of brands that are coming in and there’s strong performance from classic brands that are pillars in the industry,” she said.

Newsworthy Notes
One of those is Estée Lauder, which has rolled out Modern Muse, the beauty giant’s first new major scent launch in nearly a decade. This floral woody fragrance features “dual-impression” structure, which according to Karen Khoury, SVP, corporate fragrance development worldwide at The Estée Lauder Companies, allows women to connect with Modern Muse in their own way—whether with its floral elements or its woody nature.

The scent is housed in a tall glass bottle and secondary packaging that features blush pink, to represent the soft feminine side of today’s modern woman, and deep navy, which is Lauder’s trademark color. The flacon also sports a navy patent bow inspired by the bow on Youth Dew, Lauder’s debut scent that hit counters some 60 years ago. To support the launch of Modern Muse ($98 for 3.4oz EDP), Lauder has created print, TV and digital ads featuring Arizona Muse in her debut as a brand spokesmodel.

Lauder—via its Aramis & Designer Fragrances Unit—also has its hands in another big launch this year: fashion designer Tory Burch’s first fragrance. Featuring notes of vetiver, grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, neroli, cassis, saturated pink peony, tuberose, jasmine sambac, sweet alyssum, warm cedar and sandalwood, Tory Burch eau de parfum (3.4oz EDP/$110), made its debut exclusively at Bloomingdale’s and Burch’s boutiques in September.

Burch, who enjoys a devoted following of women, described the blend as similar to her clothes and accessories, specifically “a balance of femininity and tomboy, citrus and floral, grounded and graceful.” The packaging offers a nod to the classic perfume flacon, but it also features Burch’s signature design elements, like fretwork as seen in the brass details in her Madison Avenue flagship shop and her medallion logo that adorns everything from wristlets to flip flops.

While there’s a heavy designer presence in the category these days, showcased by Burch’s and other boldface brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Michael Kors and Chanel, the music industry’s influence on fine fragrance remains strong. New rollouts are coming from women—and young men—who lead the Billboard charts and are no strangers to the fragrance scene.

Musical Mix
Katy Perry, for example, is pitching Killer Queen, which was created by Laurent Le Guernec of IFF. The juice—housed in a 3.4oz bottle ($59) that is inspired by a queen’s scepter—features top notes of wild berry, bark plum and bergamot; the middle notes include red velvet flower, natural jasmine sambac and rainbow plumeria; the base features cashmeran, natural patchouli and heart liquid praline. Meanwhile Rihanna’s newest scent is Rogue by Rihanna, which features lemon blossom, cyclamen, jasmine, rose, plum and suede over a base of musk, woods, patchouli, vanilla and amber.

Fellow performer Justin Bieber is now touting The Key, a fruity floral musk that hit stores in July. It is Bieber’s third go-around in the category, following Girlfriend and his blockbuster debut, Someday, which racked up much media attention and sales too.

Yet eyes are now on another musical act that’s big with tween girls—One Direction, a popular Brit boy band that has made a foray into fragrance with Our Moment. Having recently hit Macy’s stores in the US after debuting in the UK this past summer, the EDP is billed as a sparkling, juicy and feminine fragrance featuring fresh fruit and seasonal flowers infused with undertones of warm musk. Notes include pink grapefruit, wild berries, redcurrants, jasmine petals, frangipani, musk and patchouli.

“We know how eagerly One Direction fans have waited for the ‘Our Moment’ fragrance to launch here in the United States, and are excited to offer the collection nationwide and on macys.com,” said Martine Reardon, Macy’s chief marketing officer, in a press statement when the scent hit Macy’s counters.

Our Moment isn’t the only British fragrance invasion; Illuminum’s White Gardenia Petals, a.k.a. the fragrance worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day back in 2011, has come across the pond too. This high-end scent is now sold at Henri Bendel in New York City and can be purchased stateside via Bendel’s website.

While scents from Hollywood A-listers and the like often benefit from an established fan base, there’s more to the equation, say industry insiders.

“There is no doubt that a celebrity fragrance launch is significantly helped by a large fan base, and the more dedicated they are to the celebrity the better, but if the product is bad quality, or not appropriate for the audience it is targeting, for example, too musky or too floral, it will not survive long past the initial launch. There must be a feature to the product that makes it stand up on its own, beyond the cult of the celebrity,” said Nicole Desir, vice president of brand management at licensing agency Beanstalk.

According to Desir, Bieber and One Direction have opened up the fragrance market to a much younger consumer.

“They have given them a product that they can aspire to go out and buy themselves rather than being first introduced to fragrance by a boyfriend, parent or relative, which is what we would have expected before these young celebrity products were available.”
But she offered a caveat.

“If we want the fragrance category to continue to grow,” she said, “it is important that we don’t squander the opportunity presented by the young consumer. We need to make sure that the industry gets behind the right celebrities, helps them to develop a great, high-quality product and guides that product through a sustainable launch and marketing program to ensure the young consumer values the fragrance experience and stays on board.

That’s because no company—whether fragrance house or record label—wants a one-hit wonder.

Desir pointed to Elizabeth Taylor, Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, Britney Spears, Beyonce and Sarah Jessica Parker as success stories with “steady presence, who you see advertised, and who command the most shelf space in the stores.”

She contends these fragrances have “stood the test of time and are now less about the celebrity promoting them and more about a very high quality product, well distributed and marketed.”

Coty continues to expand Berry’s presence; and this season its via Halle Berry Exotic Jasmine eau de parfum (0.5oz). Top notes of violet leaf, neroli and cyclamen lead to a heart of blossoming jasmine sambac, plumeria blossom and fluid hedione, with a dry down of white cedar, soft vetiver and skin musk.

The scent, which was developed by Symrise’s David Apel, is housed in a bottle embossed with a jasmine floral pattern, featuring the “HB” monogram on the top. 

While scents from Berry and others have proved popular at mass, overall it remains a category on the slide. According to IRI, sales of women’s fragrances at mass (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, military commissaries and select club and dollar retail chains) fell 4.11% to $504.8 million for the 52 weeks ended Sept. 8, 2013 (See chart on p. 66).

Niches Are Nice
Meanwhile, the top end of the segment is faring well, with high-end niche and limited availability scents have been racking up double-digit growth, according to industry trackers.

Luxury perfume maker Bond No. 9 has two scents out this Fall—Perfumista Avenue and The Scent of Peace for Him.

Perfumista Avenue (100ml/$340) is described as an “orientalist, leather-tinged blend” that modernizes fresh, ultra-feminine rose (New York State’s official flower). The bottle is a vivid magenta with a shimmering metallic cast that’s laser-etched with a pattern of the Bond No. 9 signature token. It hit counters in mid-September at Bond No. 9’s five New York stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, select
Nordstrom stores and Harrods.

Out this month is Scent of Peace for Him (100ml/$250), a male counterpart to a scent that has been on Bond No.9’s bestseller list for several years. Scent of Peace for Him is composed of both contemporary and traditional fragrance notes—bergamot, pineapple and juniper berry at the top, blackcurrant, cedarwood and vetiver at the heart and patchouli, amber and musk at the base. What spin has the firm put on its classic star-shaped bottle? This time it is a deep royal blue adorned with a black leather bow tie.
Nest is touting a new fine fragrance range at Sephora. Based on the original Nest Fine Fragrances Collection that debuted in the fall of 2012, five scents are now offered at 160 Sephora stores across the US and on Sephora.com.

The Nest Fine Fragrance collection features three existing fragrances—Amazon Lily, Midnight Fleur and Passiflora—and two new Sephora-exclusives—Dahlia & Vines and White Sandalwood.

The first of the Sephora exclusives is an opulent combination of floral notes—think peony, dahlia, rose and daffodil wrapped in green garden vines and blended with hints of pink pepper, lychee and raspberry—while the latter features sandalwood from India and Australia combined with creamy almond, white musk and exotic spices. Each is available in a specially designed 1.7oz eau de parfum spray flacon ($65) or as a roller ball ($25). There is also a five-bottle coffret set ($38).

More to Come
More fragrances are heading to the launch pad for 2014. Avon is rolling out Instinct for men and women this season in Europe, and will bring the duo to the US and other regions in 2014. The campaign will be fronted by actress Megan Fox.

There’s been some recent activity in retail and promotion that seems to bode well for the category’s future. Leading department stores have revamped their fragrance areas to create a more open, upscale feel.

According to The New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue installed open-plan counters to entice customers to spritz on scents themselves, while Macy’s Herald Square has added new LED lighting and marble floors in addition to bringing in new luxury brands like Jo Malone that offer a variety of fragrances, from citrus to floral.

“Floors are becoming more compelling environments for beauty,” Grant told Happi, having herself recently visited leading stores to see the changes up close.

In addition, a new fragrance sampling effort is coming to consumers where they live. Hearst reports that 400,000 subscribers of its Elle, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Seventeen magazines will receive sample vials of Marc Jacobs Daisy and Daisy Eau So Fresh fragrances—not just scent strips—polybagged with their November issues.

Actual juice delivered to consumers’ front doors? Could it be a sign that fine fragrance is getting some much-needed attention in a category that’s been all about skin care and color cosmetics?

Said NPD’s Grant, “More manufacturers are investing in the category and looking at fragrance as part and parcel of the beauty industry.”
  • Fit for Fitness

    Fit for Fitness

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 21, 2017
    Kinx Active is a new brand targeting women who want beauty products that can stand up to their fitness routines.

  • Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Cargo Says Aloha To Spring/Summer

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||February 13, 2017
    Cargo Cosmetics has rolled out its new Spring/Summer collection with Hawiianan singer Anuhea.

  • Cashing In on Coconuts

    Cashing In on Coconuts

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||February 6, 2017
    Organic to Green is making waves for its new oils and eco-friendly packaging.

  • Trade Association Directory 2017

    February 2, 2017
    Contact details of trade associations that serve various segments of our industry and are mentioned frequently in Happi.

  • What the Halal  Is Going On?

    What the Halal Is Going On?

    Imogen Matthews , In-Cosmetics||February 2, 2017
    Demand for these beauty products is surging thanks to a fastgrowing Muslim population.

  • Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Relief for Sensitive Scalps

    Guadalupe Pellon and Annette Mehling , BASF||February 2, 2017
    BASF researchers detail the attributes of the company’s highly effective hair care system focusing on scalp sensitivity.

  • What’s in Style?

    What’s in Style?

    Melissa Meisel , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    The latest sprays, gels, mousses, serums and creams for hair are filled with luxury components and meet a variety of needs

  • Defining Clean Skin

    Defining Clean Skin

    Nava Dayan PhD, Dr. Nava Dayan LLC||February 1, 2017
    A look at the issues, research and history surrounding this controversial topic.

  • Linked In

    Linked In

    Christine Esposito , Associate Editor||February 1, 2017
    Through virtual reality, apps and connected devices, beauty and personal care brands can strengthen their customer relations

  • Hitting the Right Notes

    Hitting the Right Notes

    January 6, 2017
    Agilex Fragrances is the leader in the middle market fragrance category.

  • The Smell of Clean in 2017

    The Smell of Clean in 2017

    January 6, 2017
    Changing consumer lifestyles and demographics are impacting the scents found in the household cleaning category.

  • On the Edge

    On the Edge

    January 6, 2017
    Expanding beauty brands to watch in 2017

  • A New Contender?

    A New Contender?

    January 6, 2017
    Detergent sales are up, innovation continues and Henkel is determined to make it a dogfight in the segment.

  • Engagement 2016

    Engagement 2016

    January 6, 2017
    CSPA convenes in Fort Lauderdale for annual meeting.

  • Slow & Steady

    Slow & Steady

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    In a tumultuous environment, steady gains posted in the industrial and institutional cleaning sector are welcomed.

  • The World Comes to Orlando

    The World Comes to Orlando

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||December 1, 2016
    More than 1,600 chemists traveled to Florida for the IFSCC Congress

  • The Plex Phenomenon

    The Plex Phenomenon

    Denise Costrini, Croda North America||December 1, 2016
    Croda details the hair-protecting qualities of bond multipliers and the company’s new bond-building formulation system.

  • New Hair Care Ingredients

    December 1, 2016
    Check out the latest releases from suppliers.

  • Hair & Now

    Hair & Now

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor ||December 1, 2016
    The shampoo and conditioner category is expanding with modern takes on these classic formulations.

  • Perform or Perish

    Perform or Perish

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||December 1, 2016
    Success in today’s skin care sector begins with active ingredients, formulated in products that address modern-day issues.

  • Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Aromas Revealed: Fragrance Disclosure

    Daniel Greenberg, Agilex Fragrances||November 2, 2016
    Fragrance disclosure is a potentially dangerous issue.

  • New and Noteworthy:  Fine Fragrance Roundup  for Fall 2016

    New and Noteworthy: Fine Fragrance Roundup for Fall 2016

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Check out the latest launches in fragrance this season.

  • Soap Opera

    Soap Opera

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    FDA’s recent antibacterial ruling has soap sector stakeholders scrambling to keep some ingredients in their formulation kit.

  • New Ingredients for  Household Cleaners

    New Ingredients for Household Cleaners

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    Here are ingredients introduced by suppliers during the past 12 months.

  • Clean It Up

    Clean It Up

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||November 2, 2016
    The home care industry takes a hard look at itself and the changing world it competes in.

  • A-Okay!

    A-Okay!

    Imogen Matthews, For In-Cosmetics||November 2, 2016
    K-Beauty influences cosmetic development around the world.

  • Shine On

    Shine On

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||November 2, 2016
    Oral care products are rising to the task with innovative components.

  • Next Gen  Antiseptics

    Next Gen Antiseptics

    Emily Kalal and Katherine S. Maka, RITA Corporation||November 2, 2016
    RITA researchers detail the benefits of 0.75% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) antiseptic handwash