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Festive season aids continuing growth of global fragrance market

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 02-Jan-2013

The James Bond fragrance was a top seller
The James Bond fragrance was a top seller

Robust sales during the holiday period has helped to boost the global fragrance market, as it continues its return to glory after being hit hard in the economic downturn.

Three years ago, when the crisis hit, fragrance was one of the main categories in the industry affected by the recession; but has been steadily recovering, and the recent festive period has helped, according to Companies & Markets.

Fragrance sales are normally expected to increase around the holiday period, as gift sets are utilised, and 2012 was no different, with perfumes by Lady Gaga and Marc Jacobs featuring in the top five most popular for him and her.

According to the market research, scent sales were up 6 per cent on the previous year, and a total of £790 million (€973m) was spent in the UK over the festive season; with researchers predicting beforehand that every adult in Britain would spend £17.59 on perfume gifts over the holidays.

New releases performing well

Companies & Markets have put the festive boom down to new releases in the perfume market and the success of big brands and fame-associated scents.

Jumping on the new release of the latest Bond film Skyfall, the James Bond after-shave was a huge seller and made it into the top 10 men's fragrances; outselling big brands like Paco Rabanne, Prada, and Armani.

The Lady Gaga perfume also sold well, breaking into the top 10 women's fragrances over the holidays.

“Fragrance sales are bucking the trend of much lower retail sales in other areas,” says the report. “Traditionally a massive 54 per cent of the total annual expenditure on perfume is on Christmas presents for loved ones.”

Return to form

The boost is a welcome one after the global fragrances market was one of the beauty and personal care categories that suffered the most during the economic recession, with growth falling to a mere 3 per cent in 2009.

However, in the past two years fragrances have had a comeback, with 2011's 6 per cent growth the highest seen since 2006.

Factors predicted to drive further growth within the fragrances market include the growing trend towards consumer urbanization, higher spending propensity and the heightened importance on personal appearance and grooming.

The market was boosted in 2011 by strong growth in premium fragrances, which hold 54 per cent of value and experienced an increase of almost $1.4 billion (€1.1bn), largely boosted by North America growing by double digits for the first time in the past 15 years.

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