THE ROLE OF FRAGRANCES IN COSMETICS,
INCLUDING SCENT TRENDS BY COUNTRY,
WILL BE IN FOCUS AT IN-COSMETICS 2014,
WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN HAMBURG,
GERMANY, APRIL 1-3, 2014.
SCENT, as much as the formulation and packaging, is a key motivator for consumers when deciding which personal care product to buy. Yet, often it gets overlooked or sidelined
when budgetry decisions are made.
“You may have the best formulation, innovative packaging
and communication, but if it doesn’t generate emotion with the
consumer, then the product is likely to fail. Fragrance is key and
will prompt purchase,” stated Francis Hembert, Dévelopment
International, Cinquieme Sens, who maintains that the emotional factor creates addiction.
Consumers often talk of their addiction to certain scents that
have been around for some considerable time and remind them
of good times, such as holidays and childhood memories. Ambre
Solaire is frequently described as the “scent of summer,” while
Nivea is equally recognizable by consumers who may have fond
memories of the brand while growing up. In each case, the fragrance is the brand’s DNA, which is passed across generations
and cannot be changed.
In her presentation at this year’s In-Cosmetics show in Paris,
Claudie Willemin, president, Société Française de Cosmétologie
(SFC), described how olfactive signatures influences consumer
tastes in different countries. For example, orange blossom is
used in the French version of Mixa baby, but in South europe
and brazil it is formulated with a powdery scent. Another French
brand, Dop Douceurs d’enfance, which is a family cream shower
gel, has the scent of Madeleine cakes, which are known to evoke
strong childhood memories among French consumers.
“Fragrance is the signature of the performance, the signature
of the brand and can be designed to enhance the efficacy of a
product,” Willemin observed.
Mintel has researched the importance of scent as a purchase driver
in toiletries and identified key consumer trends by region. In all the
categories monitored, fragrance was rated as one of the most important attributes, sometimes scoring more highly than performance or
efficacy. Mintel’s research, carried out in 2012, showed scent as the
second most important attribute after moisturizing in shower gels for
both european and the uS. In the uS, consumers also rated a pleasant fragrance in shampoos or conditioners more highly than product
benefits such as volumizing or defrizzing. However, scent in hair care
is rarely communicated.
For hand and body lotion, consumers were more concerned with
how a product works than how it smells. european and uS consumers rated moisturizing and natural ingredients to be more important
than scent, which came third. France and the uS were the countries
where consumers most likely looked for unscented hand and body
Along with functionality and price, scent is a priority when consumers shop for personal care products. Mintel discovered that, globally, only 1-4% of personal care products are unscented. understanding
this, manufacturers are now putting more emphasis on scents and are
enhancing the creativity, quality and the sensory experience of toiletries. However, fragrance is frequently not specified; instead brands
emphasize the ingredients and skin care benefits, such as coconut oil
and ylang extract.
In 2012, the most popular scent used globally in toiletries was
floral, especially in soap and bath products. In terms of named floral
notes, lavender, rose and jasmine came out on top for all toiletries.
Fruity and gourmet notes were featured next and are strongest in
North America, where consumers favor them over all other kinds of
Imogen Matthews • Consultant to In-Cosmetics