Beauty

Coty and L’Oréal fragrance sales growth suggest the scent craze isn’t slowing down

In the pandemic era, fragrance has been a standout category.
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· less than 3 min read

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Since the pandemic hit, home-bound consumers have been finding solace in little luxuries. Scent has been a standout category: Fragrance sales in the US hit $954 million in the first quarter of 2021, per NPD Group, an 82% increase from the prior year and a 35% jump from 2019. Last week’s earnings reports from Coty and L’Oréal concur. The perfume craze is real.

For the second quarter ending December 31, Coty’s revenue jumped 12% to $1.58 billion. And its US prestige fragrance sales increased by more than 40%, with almost all brands—like Gucci and Burberry—contributing to the growth.

  • In China, fragrance saw double-digit growth, boosted by new perfumes on the market.

Pleasure principle: Meanwhile, for its fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 earnings, L’Oréal’s sales increased 15.3% to just over $37 billion. Fragrances within its luxe division experienced a 27% YoY sales jump.

During the earnings call, Cyril Chapuy, president and general director of L’Oréal Luxe, chalked the success up to “new consumer behaviors…centered around pleasure and well-being.” It’s a hard point to argue, especially as more retailers lean into wellness, from sex toys at Sephora to Saks’ online Wellness Shop.

L’Oréal and Coty are far from the only companies cashing in on the fragrance boom. Dolce & Gabbana is bringing its cosmetics and perfume operations in-house, with the hopes of doubling its share in the fragrance sector. Even the candle company, Boy Smells started a fragrance line last year.

Looking ahead…What consumers want out of a bottle has changed. And the modern selling point, according to the Business of Fashion, smells like gender-neutrality. The idea is that you’ll catch more noses with a wider net.—JG

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