Total Beauty Study Shows Trial & Sampling Over Celebrity Cache Drives Fragrance Purchasing Decisions

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In an Uncertain Economy, Fragrance Is Luxury of Choice for Lower Income Women

Despite the influx of celebrity-endorsed fragrances, it’s scents over celebrity association that sells fragrances according to a new study from Total Beauty Media Group, a leading digital publisher of beauty and health content. When women were asked how they chose and purchased fragrances, scent strips and in-store trials were the key drivers. While celebrity products and endorsements receive buzz and build awareness, consumers were reluctant to admit that celebrity associations were influential to their purchase behaviors in the fragrance category.

Designed to help marketers better understand the purchasing decisions of consumers in the $20 billion dollar fragrance market, Total Beauty Media Group’s study further establishes the company as a primary provider of deep insights into the online and offline behavior of consumers looking for the latest in digital beauty content.

Using its unparalleled library of audience data, Total Beauty asked more than 480 women about their fragrance consumption and purchasing habits. 59 percent of respondents said that scent samples and in-store trials were the most influential factors in their buying decisions. Findings from the study also concluded that in an uncertain economy, women consistently view fragrance as a luxury they’re willing to pay for. Notably, 40 percent of women in the lowest income bracket (household income under $25,000 per year) purchased fragrances at specialty retailers and not mass merchants, thus transforming the shopping experience into one of indulgence.

“What’s fascinating is that 40 percent of women with a household income under $25,000 spent upwards of $150 on fragrance over the past 12 months,” said Ethelbert Williams, Head of Marketing, Total Beauty Media Group. “Women are simply willing to pay for scent, regardless of the economy.”

Additional findings from the study include:
Wealthier women are more likely to purchase fragrances when there is a free gift with the purchase:

  • 18 percent of respondents with an annual household income of more than $150,000 were enticed to purchase a fragrance when they received a free gift with purchase, whereas less than 8.5 percent of women with lower household incomes were influenced

Women over the age of 55 are more apt to treat themselves to fragrances:

  • 71 percent of respondents in the 55+ age group spent $50 to $149 on fragrances over the last year, but only 43 percent purchased fragrances as a gift

The higher a woman’s income, the more likely she is to be influenced by a celebrity endorsement:

  • Respondents in the $150,000+ income bracket were twice as likely to be influenced by celebrity cache

To learn more about Total Beauty Media Group insights on products, visit

About Total Beauty Media Group
Founded in 2007, Total Beauty Media Group operates, home of the largest database of independent, unbiased beauty product reviews for women. features hundreds of thousands of user-generated reviews, spanning more than 45,000 products, including most known prestige, mass-market, salon, and spa products. In addition, the site publishes daily editorial coverage of beauty news and trends, including TV – its immense library of beauty how-to videos.

Total Beauty Media Group’s portfolio of digital beauty, health, and lifestyle media properties includes:,,, and Total Beauty Media Group is backed by USVP and Wallington Investments and based in Santa Monica, Calif. For more information about Total Beauty Media Group, visit


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Ethelbert Williams

Stephan Pechdimaldji
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