Women’s fragrance a shrinking market, Mintel

By Andrew McDougall

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Market research company, Marketing

The latest report from market research company Mintel has found that sales of women’s fragrances in Food, Drug and Mass outlets, excluding Walmart, (FDMx) show a significant decline since 2005.

The report entitled ‘Women’s Fragrances - US - 2010’ has cited the increasing population of older women who tend to buy less than their younger counterparts, and the recession, hitting hardest in 2008, as main catalysts for the decline.

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The report also highlighted that an increasing number of brands are being offered in lower-cost outlets affecting sales figures.

While lower-priced private-label brands are finding some success in FDMx outlets, they represent a very small percentage of sales.

Segment performance

Sales of women’s fragrance in FDMx outlets are estimated to stand at $406 million in 2010, representing a 23 percent decline from 2005's figures.

The market research company splits the sector into two, and both market segments show a significant decrease.

Since 2005, FDMx sales of perfumes, colognes, and body powders have declined from $366m to $295m, while FDMx sales of gift packs went from $159 million to $111 million.

Mintel suggests purchasers are shying away from gift packs in FDMx outlets, and shifting to single items or lower-priced outlets. Therefore women are purchasing less for themselves, and lower prices are driving down the segments.

Leading fragrance companies also suffer

According to Mintel, even the leading brands in the market are declining in the FDMx outlets.

Coty Beauty, responsible for Halle by Halle Berry, Faith Hill, and Calvin Klein, lost $10 million in sales from 2009-10, while Elizabeth Arden brands, Elizabeth Taylor, Britney Spears, held on to market share though sales declined by 4.5%. Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds brought in $9 million in sales in 2010.

However, Procter & Gamble is pushing its way to the foreground by using record-setting and champion sprinter Usain Bolt to represent a line of men’s and women’s fragrances in its Africa-themed campaign for the Puma brand.

Age dictating use

Since 2004, the use and purchase of perfume has declined. Mintel claim older ‘baby boomer’ women are not as likely as their younger counterparts to use fragrance, and are also less likely to try new products.

Compounding this factor, while the population of women is expected to increase by 7.6 million in the US from 2010-15, the number of teens aged 12-17 - a key demographic - will only grow by 300,000.

Mintel’s consumer research also found that more than half of respondents use body lotions with fragrance, a key competitor to perfumes.

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