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Fragrance Sales in Direct Sales Channel Are on the Rise

May 2, 2014

According to The NPD Group, Inc. direct-to-consumer sales of US prestige fragrance grew 10% in the 12 months ending February 2014, to $285 million. While it remains a fraction of the $3.0 billion US prestige fragrance market, the performance of products sold on department store websites, in key online-only beauty retailers, and through TV/home shopping retailers is a bright spot for the industry, which saw 2% declines during the same time period.

“The desire to ‘try on’ a scent before committing isn’t about to go away, but there is real appeal for consumers in the immediacy of replenishing the supply of their favorite scents from the comfort of wherever they are,” said Karen Grant, vice president and global industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc.

Gift sets led the pack, representing 46% of direct-to-consumer prestige fragrance sales in the US, ahead of standalone juices which accounted for 44% of sales. Gift set sales grew 9%.

Men’s fragrances represent a smaller portion of the sales than women’s in both prestige department stores and direct-to-consumer channels. However in both cases, men’s fragrances outperformed the women’s and the overall market in the 12 months ending February 2014. NPD’s BeautyTrends Direct showed a 19% increase in dollar sales of men’s prestige fragrances during this time.

Ten percent of US prestige fragrance sales in this channel (vs. 8% percent of prestige department store sales), fragrances sold in flacons of 5 ounces or larger grew 26% during this 12 month period (vs. 12% sales growth in prestige department stores), noted NPD.

“Offering consumers incentives and options that link the in-store experience with the convenience of purchasing direct is the best of both worlds.  It is this type of seamless retailing that is providing manufacturers and retailers a world of new opportunities,” added Grant.

Leading direct sales channel HSN recently served as the launch pad for a new upscale scent. TV star Sofia Vergara opted for HSN for the exclusive debut of her first fragrance, Sofia by Sofia Vergara. The scent— an oriental flora eau de parfum—debuted on April 24.

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