Mass market fragrance sales continue decline


The pressure on mass market fragrances has yet to ease due in part to declining sales of celebrity fragrances and a reduction in fragrance innovation. And men’s fragrance is no exception.

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According to IRI, sales of men’s fragrance declined about 3% for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2014, across total U.S. multi-outlets.

Despite the drop in sales, men’s fragrance fared better than women’s fragrance, which declined nearly 7% during the same period.

“In terms of within fragrance, prestige is growing faster than mass. Mass is declining in some markets, not in all, but in some markets,” Bart Becht, chairman and interim CEO of Coty, told analysts during the company’s second-quarter conference call in early February.

As reported by Drug Store News, Coty saw renewed strength in such core brands as Sally Hansen nail care and Rimmel cosmetics during the second quarter; however, fragrances declined 1% like-for-like, in part, reflecting innovation phasing on select brands and pressure in the mass fragrances market.

Prestige fragrances are showing “good growth,” Becht said, but mass fragrance, in particular on the celebrity side, is currently declining in the United States.

While celebrity fragrances have experienced their ups and downs over the past 25 or so years, industry players are working to determine whether the current downturn is a long-term secular decline or the result of recent consumer behavior.

The good news is that manufacturers are not resting on their laurels.

“The fact that there has been a significant decline [in celebrity fragrances] and new celebrities hitting the market is actually creating a little bit of an opportunity. But make no mistake, ... the rules of engagement, the business model, the terms of licenses, the commercial terms of execution have been adjusted in a way that ensures profitable innovation going forward,” Elizabeth Arden’s chairman, president and CEO, Scott Beattie, told analysts during the company’s recent second-quarter conference call.

The company noted that it also is working on a number of key initiatives in the second half and is looking to expand fragrances into such adjacent categories as men’s grooming.

It is very likely that the popularity of body spray also is impacting the segment. During the same 52-week period, sales of men’s body mists increased nearly 50%, according to IRI.

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