Women are more emotionally connected to fragrance than men, according to a new study just out from Scentiments, a suite of consumer insights and tools on the U.S. fragrance industry from The NPD Group. The data shows that women in the U.S. are 35% 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. 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% in the last two years, over two-times faster than the overall women’s fragrance market. Rollerball and travel spray sales grew by 28% 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% 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.”