Body sprays, body mists & home fragrance: the formats to watch

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Sol de Janeiro has been at the forefront of the body mist boom
Sol de Janeiro has been at the forefront of the body mist boom

Related tags Fragrance scents Perfume Body care L'Occitane Trend Mintel

As body sprays, body mists and home fragrances see a boom, could innovating in new formats be a strong bet for future fragrance NPD?

Younger consumers, in particular, appear to be showing a preference for alternative fragrance formats, rather than simply perfume, eau de toilette and aftershave.   

Perhaps the most notable (and surprising) fragrance format to steal back the limelight is the current revival of body sprays and body mists.

Once the choice of 1990s teenagers, body sprays are now being targeted by all areas of the scent market – including the most high-end prestige brands.

“Value sales of body sprays are expected to grow at roughly double the rate compared to fragrances,” shared Mintel beauty and personal care analyst, Maddie Malone.

“In fact, the body spray/mist format has also become more on-trend,” she added and noted how this has been exemplified by Sol De Janeiro's body sprays going viral on social media platforms such as TikTok.

The beach-life-inspired brand continues to be a huge success for L’Occitane Group,​ with sales up by 199% on the same period in 2023, according to its latest financial report. It’s also seeing booming popularity in the travel-retail sector thanks to its positive, sun-drenched image and array of gourmand-inspired notes​, such as pistachio and salted caramel.  

Malone noted that innovation is also coming from prestige brands in the segment, “with Chanel extending its range in 2023 to include two new body sprays under its Allure Homme umbrella.”

“There is an opportunity for other prestige brands to take inspiration from this and innovate in the format – to provide an entry point for those on a budget amid the income squeeze,” she shared.

Gender barriers are eroding for scent formats 

Malone also noted that “usage disparity between genders is minimal in body sprays/mists” and flagged that in the wider fragrance market, younger males and females were showing a trend of not sticking to the ‘traditional’ formats for their gender.

It appears that as gender barriers in scent are eroding, this in turn is paving the way for new formats to come through that are less ‘gender specific’.

Mintel data showed that younger men were more likely to use perfume than older men; while younger women were more likely to use aftershave compared with older women, which suggested “that gender barriers are eroding,” she said.

Malone noted that there are opportunities for scent brands to further combat gender barriers through advertising. “Brands can promote the possibility of using alternative formats and challenge the notion that certain formats are more suited to certain genders,” she said. “Influencer partnerships could provide a means to challenge this notion.”

Senior buying manager at UK scent retailer The Perfume Shop, Miranda Savage, also confirmed​ this trend and said: “we're not seeing one age category or demographic shopping more than any others. What we are seeing among a lot of Millennial and Gen Z shoppers is that everybody's stepping away from: ‘Who is this specifically targeted toward?’ And instead asking: ‘do I love this fragrance? Does it make me feel good’?”

Savage also highlighted a growing popularity for elixir format fragrances, particularly in the winter months. These are stronger/more concentrated and therefore have a higher price point compared to EDT and even perfume, but they tend to be longer-lasting on the skin and more potent, so technically a consumer should use less of the product.

Working patterns have affected fragrance format choices

Another trend to note is that working patterns impact fragrance usage, with hybrid or office-based workers more likely to use perfume and aftershave, which is a reflection of users being less motivated to apply fragrance when staying at home.

“However, there is an opportunity to transform these usage patterns, and emphasise the benefits of wearing scent when working from home,” said Malone and referenced Memoire Arkives’ ingenious range of scented products for those who work from home, which are designed to enhance productivity.

She also revealed that Mintel’s data showed that hybrid workers were more likely to fragrance their home, compared with those who work in an office. “This signals an opportunity to partner with air care brands and create corresponding scents whereby the user can either wear, or use in-home, dependent on their working location,” she said.

Home fragrance: a sector to watch

On this note, home fragrance is a market to watch right now. The growing sector has benefited from increased focus on wellness, as well as a pattern of people spending more time in their homes during and since the pandemic.  

L’Occitane Group has recently invested​ in the Italian artisanal home fragrance brand Dr Vranjes Firenze, which it said currently commands 13% of the high-end home diffuser market and is second only to Dutch wellbeing/beauty company Rituals.

Meanwhile, the leading home fragrance brand Rituals recorded €1.7bn net revenue for its 2023 financial year, which was up by 22% on the previous year.

Notably, it also saw 20% growth in online sales of its products, which are centred around home fragrance and body care. The brand has opened almost 200 stores worldwide, including its first stores in Asia, as it rapidly expands globally.

There is plenty of room for innovation within the home scent market. For example, the French perfumer and manufacturer Estéban Paris Parfums has recently developed “scented universes for the home” under the license for the Paris Olympics, which will be held in summer 2024.  

The Les Essentiels range includes candles, as well as fans, scented bookmarks and perfume pouches that have been made in France and produced with a “nature-committed approach” according to the brand.

General director at Estéban Paris Parfums Laurent Pichon said that the exclusive collection will “carry the colours loud and clear of French and perfumer expertise​.” and the 100%-French collection will include “beautiful materials and scented objects that are as useful and durable as they are pleasant.”

Indeed, home fragrance was a hot topic at the Luxe Pack trade show​ in Monaco last October, with experts noting that there is increased innovation in the sector based around neuroscience and how the scents impact emotion, as well as more focus on the object used to create/diffuse the scent: for example, brands are increasingly focusing on the design and after-use of candles.

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