Fragrance preferences differ significantly across the globe, from country to country, culture to culture, and even person to person; dependant on a plethora of influences. And the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis certainly played into this on several levels, according to Mintel.
Cleanliness concerns and fresh fragrances
In the market research firm’s recent ‘Surviving and thriving in the ‘next’ normal for fragrance’ webinar, Margaux Caron, global beauty analyst at Mintel, said the pandemic had clearly fuelled an increased desire to feel clean, which aligned well with established fragrance preferences in Europe.
“Fresh scents are the number one preferred scent in fragrance products in Europe, for example. So, this is something that should stay because there’s this preference for clean scents,” Caron said.
And there was a link between scents and a feeling of cleanliness, she said, but fragrance manufacturers had to go beyond simply offering a ‘fresh’ scent, particularly during the crisis. They ought to instead offer a fragrance that also provided an “escape”, Caron said.
“[Consumers] need to be reassured, and a fragrance can help them to do that. Complimenting a clean scent with hues of escapism will win consumers over.” Mixing in a musk note, for example, would work well, she said, as it had a cocooning and reassuring quality.
Hybrid fragrance products the ‘new norm’?
Caron said there was also significant scope to develop hybrid or multi-purpose fragrance products – for the body and home – given consumers were spending more time inside and looking for comfort.
“Our lifestyles have been disrupted so much lately. Integrating into consumer lifestyle needs to be reinvented, and it’s the right time to diversify and reinvent the category,” she said.
Mintel considered multi-purpose fragrances “a white space” longer-term, she said, because lifestyles would continue to look very different, even after lockdowns lifted and social distancing eased.
Working from home would become the new norm for many, she said, which opened “a motorway of opportunities” to offer new types of hybrid fragrances.
And in the US, there was already interest in this concept, with younger consumers aged 18-24 interested in air fresheners that complimented their personal fragrance, Caron said.
“Even pre-COVID there was an interest to pair and compliment and emulate personal fragrance with your home fragrance,” she said.