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Global fragrance launches plummet 35% in first quarter 2021

Katie Nichol

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Global fragrance launches plummet 35% in first quarter 2021

Global launches of new fragrances may be down 35% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2021 – to be expected as travel restrictions and lockdowns continue to weigh on retail – this is nonetheless an improvement on the more than 40% drop seen in the third quarter of last year. By segment, niche, luxury and premium are performing better than mass and lifestyle, according to Fragrances of the World, while the trend for “green” fragrances is accelerating.

Some 588 fragrances hit the global market in the first three months of 2021, a decline of 35% compared to the 899 launches recorded in the first quarter of 2020, highlights new data from fragrance expert Michael Edwards’ Fragrances of the World reference tool. In 2020, fragrance launches decreased 30% overall, with 2,619 launches for the year, compared to 3,727 in 2019.

Drilling down, niche launches also saw a drop of 30%, falling from 1,740 in 2019 to 1,217 in 2020, in part attributed to the cancellation and postponement of industry events considered important launchpads for new products. Luxury decreased 28%, standing at 73 launches in 2020 against 101 the previous year. Prestige launches dropped 11%, from 608 in 2019 to 539 in 2020, although are expected to see an uptick as fragrance reclaims its status as a luxury product, something that Fragrances of the World says is happening independently of the pandemic. Mass and lifestyle saw decreases of 47% and 49% respectively in 2020. This, according to Fragrances of the World, can be attributed to consumers opting for “timeless luxury” rather than fast consumer products in a time of stress.

Launches of flankers declined 58% last year, from 279 in 2019 to 117 in 2020. Limited-edition launches totaled 323 last year, down 24% on the 426 registered in 2019. Often linked to department stores, limited-editions are expected to continue to see fewer launches until physical retail returns to normal.

And whats in-store for fragrance formulas for 2021? The green trend, with fragrances that chime with sustainability and ethical sourcing or with mental wellbeing and self-care, is set to continue throughout 2021. Fruity fragrances and soft florals will also remain popular.

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