Women are More Emotionally Connected to Fragrance than Men, The NPD Group Finds

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Swayed by their moods, women purchase more frequently, but their choices vary

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Women in the U.S. are 35 percent more likely than men to let their moods dictate the scent they will wear each day, encouraging a stronger emotional tie to fragrance than their male counterparts, according to the latest data from Scentiments*, a suite of consumer insights and tools on the U.S. fragrance industry from global information company The NPD Group. Guided by their moods, this close personal relationship leads women to be more frequently engaged with fragrance, and contemplative when it comes to deciding on the right match.

Scentiments found that over one-third of women see fragrance as a personal treat, or a pick-me-up to enhance their mood. They tend to choose a new scent based on how well it fits with their personality. At the same time, the study found that women purchase a new fragrance as often as once a month, compared to men who purchase it an average of 1-2 times per year, and typically for the purpose of replenishment. Whereas men typically take about 30 seconds to sample and decide whether to buy a fragrance, women take anywhere from 10-20 times longer.

Given the higher frequency at which women purchase new fragrances, the appeal of smaller bottle sizes may tie into this behavior, providing consumers with the ability to experiment at a lesser cost than the full-size varieties. According to NPD’s point-of-sale data, sales of perfumes less than one ounce in size have grown by 16 percent in the last two years, over two-times faster than the overall women’s fragrance market. Rollerball and travel spray sales grew by 28 percent during this time**.

Changing scents and a longer decision-making process also makes taking home samples much more important to women than men, as they prefer to live with a scent before making a choice to invest. Women are 12 percent more likely than men to say that the provision of samples is “extremely important” when deciding where to shop for fragrances.

“Creating separate and unique strategies for men and women that align with their distinct purchasing behaviors is important for brands and retailers to grow their fragrance business,” said Kissura Craft, director and fragrance industry analyst, The NPD Group. “To appeal to women, arranging fragrances on store and virtual shelves based on scent families allows women to gravitate towards a mood rather than be overwhelmed by the abundance of fragrances. For men, arranging scents by brand allows them to easily find their go-to scent, while at the same time considering a new one within the brand they already know.”

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Scentiments: Fragrance Journey 2017
**Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / U.S. Prestige Beauty Total Measured Market, 12 months ending April 2017

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group provides market information and business solutions that drive better decision-making and better results. The world’s leading brands rely on us to help them get the right products in the right places for the right people. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, diamonds, e-commerce, entertainment, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, technology, toys, video games, and watches / jewelry. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdstyle

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Marissa Guyduy
The NPD Group
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