“Full recovery for the fragrance market will be a marathon, not a sprint”

Alissa Demorest

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“Full recovery for the fragrance market will be a marathon, not a sprint”

Market analyst Fragrances of the World’s latest data shows global fragrance launches down by 21% in the first nine months of 2021 versus 2020. The prestige segment has seen the biggest downturn, while luxury scents are accelerating their launch numbers.

The good news is that the fragrance market is slowly inching towards recovery, going by recent launch figures from market specialist Fragrances of the World. In the first nine months of 2021, some 1,733 scents hit the market, a 21% drop compared with year-to-date 2020’s 2,198 fragrances. While the sector is seeing more new products than in the first quarter of 2021, which reported a 35% decrease in launches, it remains far behind pre-pandemic levels when 2,931 fragrances came onto the market.

By sector, prestige fragrance was the hardest hit in launch numbers at -33%, while niche came in at -22%. Luxury fragrance launches clearly pulled out ahead with +30% more launches to reach 85, confirming the strength of the premium segment despite the health crisis. However, luxury is the market’s smallest category as compared to niche (755 launches) and prestige (311).

What are the trends to watch as the market emerges from the crisis? Fragrances of the World outlined three that it deems “attention-worthy”:

Scents & Sustainability

“As consumers become more engaged in sustainable living, brands need to be more transparent about ingredient and packaging sources. It’s more than just a race to zero waste; perfumers are also looking for new ways to formulate with shorter formulas with fewer, high performing ingredients that are sustainably sourced.”

Extrait to the Point

“Consumers still demand performance from their fragrances; they need to be tenacious and diffuse well. Eau de parfum is the new eau de toilette and brands are pushing concentrations to their limits with extraits, elixirs and more intense versions of their best sellers.”

Grown-up Gourmands

“Gourmand scents have developed a reputation for being comfort scents for a young, generally female audience, but we're seeing the style reinterpreted in a more sophisticated way. Connotations of toffee apples and cotton candy are being replaced with more novel accords of praline, exotic fruit and woods.”

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