The fragrance category is well poised for a year of strong growth.
On Monday, Inter Parfums reported its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings, setting a record for sales on the backbone of a strong fragrance market. Inter Parfums is one of the biggest fragrance pure players in the space. However, it’s significantly smaller when stacked up against the likes of Coty Inc., LVMH and L’Oréal, which own a combination of fragrance and other beauty categories. Inter Parfums owns or licenses fragrances for brands like Donna Karan, Moncler, Jimmy Choo, MCM and Oscar de la Renta. Its net sales for 2022 were approximately $1 billion, up 24% from 2021. Fourth-quarter net sales rose to a record $311 million, a 47% increase year-over-year. The company said it witnessed a 58% increase in U.S.-based sales, driven by its newer brands, Donna Karan and DKNY, which it took over in August — they contributed to 14% of its sales growth. It also credited the continued sales of established lines.
“The year-over-year gains, in both euros and dollars, are all the more impressive considering flankers and extensions dominated our new product pipeline,” said Jean Madar, CEO of Inter Parfums, referring to the new fragrances in the company’s existing lineup.
According to the earnings presentation, Mont Blanc is Inter Parfums’ biggest brand, with $168.3 million in 2021 sales. That’s followed by Jimmy Choo, with $154.9 million in sales, and Coach, with $136.8 million in sales. Other major fragrance conglomerates, such as LVMH and Coty Inc., have yet to share their year-end and fourth-quarter results. In 2021, LVMH reported that its perfumes and cosmetics business group saw organic revenue growth of 27% to over $7 billion, compared to 2020. That year, Dior Sauvage became the overall top-selling fragrance in the world, which was a worldwide first for a male fragrance, according to the company’s earnings press release. In fiscal year 2022, Coty Inc. maintained 23 brand licenses. In addition, about 53% of Coty’s fiscal 2022 net revenues of $5.3 billion were attributable to prestige fragrance. Of that, approximately 82% were from its top-six prestige fragrance brands, including Hugo Boss, Burberry and Gucci Beauty.
Elsewhere, the fragrance market is strong and only getting stronger. According to NPD Group’s 2022 third-quarter prestige beauty sales data, fragrance netted $1.3 billion in sales for the quarter, a growth of 11% year-over-year. Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor for NPD Group, said part of the growth was due to higher prices, with high concentrations of fragrance and luxury brands commanding a higher price point.
While common themes such as in-person events and holiday sales are big drivers of fragrance sales, the role of digital campaigns is also crucial to understanding the rebound. As of Feb. 2022, the TikTok hashtag #PerfumeTok has 506 million views, while #PerfumeTikTok has over 1.7 billion views. And content varies. According to Glossy’s previous reporting, some creators talk about scents by category (i.e., sensual florals), while others focus on fragrance brand overviews. Fragrances that get you stopped on the street is also a common topic, and inserting fragrances into existing TikTok trends is popular.
Glossy’s reporting shows the popularity of fragrance marketing campaigns that remind people of the fun and joy of fragrance. In Dec. 2022, Prada Candy launched a mini Candy Crush game in-app, which allowed people to earn a free sample when they completed the game. The campaign boosted Prada Beauty’s web traffic by over 1,800%, and the game had a nearly 7% click-through rate to the website. And Glossier has stood out as a top-ranked non-conglomerate-owned fragrance, partially due to its ability to emphasize the storytelling nature of perfume, according to Glossy and Launchmetrics data. Launchmetrics found influencers drive more than 40-times more media impact value than celebrities for fragrance due to their use of video content formats such as “My Current Favorites” or “Viral TikTok products,” which drive interest and engagement. YouTube is the top platform for marketing fragrance, topping all other social media channels in media impact value.
“Due to an increased need for individual expression and higher trust in peer-to-peer recommendations, brands focus on influencers to target distinct audiences with a specific purpose, ultimately converting in sales,” said Alison Bringé, CMO of Launchmetrics.