IT WAS A TOUGH YEAR
FOR FINE FRAGRANCE
FRAGRANCE COMPANY executives in Western Europe are most likely re- lieved to have 2012 behind them,
after the market flat-lined at $12.8 billion,
according to Euromonitor. Both premium
and mass fragrance struggled to reach parity with 2011, which was a far more buoyant year for the market. It was not all doom
and gloom in Eastern Europe, where sales
bounced by 5.3%, although the market
here is much smaller at just over $4 billion.
Russia was a particular bright spot, where
fragrance accounts for some 18% of the
total beauty market, reflecting a growing
consumer interest in luxury goods.
NPD Group, which focuses solely on
the premium fragrance sector, paints a
similar picture for Western Europe where
sales were thwarted by the fragile economies of Italy and Spain. Overall, European
premium fragrance dropped 1.1% in 2012,
following a 4.5% increase in 2011. Spain
was the most affected, as sales fell 6.5%,
followed by Italy down 3.5% and France
slipping back 1% year on year. However,
the UK proved to be a definite bright spot,
with sales in 2012 increasing by 3%.
While the ongoing economic downturn
undoubtedly dampened sales of fragrances,
Headington, Oxford UK
Tel: + 44 1865 764918
Imogen Matthews is a respected
consultant, journalist and researcher focusing on trends in the beauty industry. She regularly contributes to many of the world’s
foremost beauty trade titles. Every year in April,
she publishes The Premium Market Report, focusing on trends in the UK premium beauty markets.
the lack of major new launches in Europe
has also impacted negatively on the category. Classics have their place, but it’s newness that creates a buzz for boosting sales.
In previous years, there would always
be one or two blockbuster fragrances, but
NPD noted far fewer launches in 2012.
La Vie est Belle by Lancôme, fronted by
Julia Roberts, was the number one women’s fragrance in Italy and Spain; Marc
Jacobs Dot hit the top spot in the UK, and
Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire was the
leading new fragrance in France.
In the men’s market, NPD recorded
Dolce & Gabbana’s The One Sport as the
number one fragrance in Italy and Spain.
Diesel Only the Brave Tattoo was the leading men’s launch in France, while in the
UK it was James Bond 007, which tied
in with the 50th anniversary of the Bond
Best Sellers by Country
French women set great store by classic
fragrances made by French brands, which
invariably top the leader board. Long-established companies, including Dior and
Chanel, invest heavily with new media,
celebrity endorsements and new product
introductions. NPD recorded the top five
in France as Dior J’Adore, Chanel No. 5,
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire, Thierry
Mugler Angel and Coco Mademoiselle.
French brands are also popular in the French
men’s fragrance market, although Spanish
Paco Rabanne tops the list with 1 Million.
The UK consumer is more open to new
launches, although Chanel is a solid favorite. For many years, Coco Mademoiselle
and Chanel No. 5 have come out on top
and are favorite Christmas gifts. The hike
in advertising in December supports this
trend. In 2012, newcomer Jimmy Choo slid
into the fourth spot, behind Lady Million
and ahead of Thierry Mugler Alien. In
men’s, the list reads 1 Million, Boss Hugo
Boss, Diesel Only the Brave, JPG Le Male
and Chanel Bleu.
Despite a fondness for Italian designers, including Gucci, Giorgio Armani and
Dolce & Gabbana, Italian women are
drawn more to French classics from Dior
and Chanel. The best sellers in 2012 were
Dior J’Adore, Narciso Rodriguez for Her,
Hypnotic Poison, Chanel No. 5 and Coco
Mademoiselle. Among the men’s scents,
Armani’s Acqua Di Gio held onto its
long-term pole position. I Million, Terre
d’Hermes, Dior Fahrenheit and Allure
Homme Sport came in after.