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France’s premium fragrance sales fare better than selective beauty overall

Katie Nichol

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France’s premium fragrance sales fare better than selective beauty overall

The market may have seen sales of premium perfumes plummet between January and end October of 2020, but the category's online sales increased by 41% during the same period, says NPD data.

While premium fragrance sales in France saw a double-digit decline in the first 10 months of the year, falling 18%, they nonetheless outperformed the overall selective beauty market, according to new data from The NPD Group. The selective beauty market saw its sales fall 22% between January and the end of October 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Sales of premium fragrance totaled €1.21bn for the first ten months of 2020. With the category penalized by the closure of physical stores, online proved to be a bright spot. Indeed, online sales of premium fragrances increased 41% year-on-year between January and the end of October 2020. In comparison, the overall online selective beauty market was up 34%.

Consumers are becoming more confident when it comes to purchasing scent online, says NPD; online fragrance sales between August and end October, rising 46% in value, even though perfumeries and department stores had reopened following the first lockdown. Online sales of perfume gift sets increased 98% year-on-year during the period.

Online purchases of premium fragrances remains modest in France compared to other markets like the UK and Germany, and do not compensate for the loss in sales registered when physical stores were shut, says NPD.

However, brands and retailers have shown themselves to be agile in recent months, offering new ways to test fragrance at home and developing click & collect and live streaming, the market-research company highlights.

“Consumers are discovering new ways to shop, their habits are changing and we anticipate strong online sales performance during the 2020 holiday season, which will continue into 2021,” concludes The NPD Group Beauty Expert Europe Mathilde Lion.

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