Unisex fragrances and smaller sized (or smaller priced) scents are taking over

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Eleanor Dwyer, US Beauty & Fashion Research Associate at Euromonitor International
Eleanor Dwyer, US Beauty & Fashion Research Associate at Euromonitor International

Related tags Perfume

At next month’s in-cosmetics North America event in New York City, market research firm Euromonitor International will present on US trends and this region’s consumer landscape. In advance of that, Cosmetic Design checked in with the firm about what it all means for fragrance.

Fragrance trends and consumer preferences in the US region are shifting and brands looking to gain market share might want to focus on unisex scents, fragrance wardrobes, and body sprays. To find out more, Cosmetics Design connected with Eleanor Dwyer, US beauty and fashion research associate with Euromonitor International.

One scent fits all

Unisex fragrance is more about personality than gender, and as societal attitudes oscillate so does the market for these scents. For now, there’s good news: “Premium Unisex outgrew all other fragrance subcategories in 2015, growing a remarkable 23% in value sales,” ​Eleanor Dwyer tells this publication.

She affirms that “unisex fragrances are popular with consumers who care about expressing their individual personality through their fragrance; they don’t want to be assigned a standard fragrance based on their gender, but would rather find a scent with unique personal appeal.”

However, neither this trend nor other prevalent market forces are doing mass market fragrances any favors. “Mass unisex fragrances experienced the greatest decline in 2015, declining 6% in current value terms,”​ according to data Dwyer shared. And, “mass fragrances as a whole did not fare well in 2015, with current value sales declining by 2% in 2015.”

Smaller is better

Consumers today are looking for more affordable, portable, and layerable ways to buy fragrance. And, Euromonitor predicts that packaging choices will play a role. “Companies are expected to introduce more small sizes, such as 30ml (1 fl oz) bottles, to appeal to value-conscious consumers who want to have a ‘wardrobe’ of fragrances whilst maintaining a budget,”​ says Dwyer, adding that “small formats, such as roller-balls and solid rings, are also a better match with today’s on-the-go lifestyles, so women can refresh their fragrance throughout the day.”

Flanker fragrances, those that share select features with existing successful perfumes, are set to do well also. These “flanker fragrances appeal to individualistic consumers by offering an array of similar scents each with a twist; customers can choose the versions that best fit their personalities,”​ explains Dwyer.

Not quite perfume

Body sprays, mists, and splashes are nudging in on market share that once belonged squarely to conventional fragrances and parfums. “The entrance of premium fragrance companies (such as Elizabeth Arden) into the body mist category allows lower-income consumers to purchase premium-branded products at a mass price point,”​ Dwyer tells Cosmetics Design.

Essentially, she explains, the appeal of these products is that they are lower cost, easily layerable, and lighter in scent; which all means that consumers can readily afford to create a fragrance wardrobe or customize their own scent by wearing more than one at a time.


Dwyer’s colleague Amanda Hartzmark, research analyst with Euromonitor, will be presenting at the in-cosmetics North America event on Wednesday 7 September at 10:15am. Her talk is called US Marketing Trends and the Changing Consumer Landscape. Find more information here​.

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