Cosmetics Business reveals the top 5 fragrance trends of 2024 in new report

By Jo Allen | Published: 2-May-2024

From the new wave of 'edible' perfumes to smelling 'expensive' and 'loud budgeting' with dupes and affordable formats: perfume is captivating consumers at every level


This article was originally published in the Fragrance Trend Report. Receive your copy here


From budget to blowout, fragrance is booming across price points as consumers shop across a variety of brands, from premium to private label.

On the back of three years of double digit growth in prestige perfumery – which continues to thrive – the mass segment has also started to catch up as dupes and affordable formats like body sprays experience a new burst of growth.

This is where the fragrance industry shines: one side is not succeeding at the cost of the other, it is thriving on the variety of premium options and budget alternatives it offers, and as such is poised for yet another successful year ahead.

“Although consumers are trading up to pricier fragrance products, they are simultaneously spending more on lower-priced alternatives sold in prestige retailers that offer similar benefits,” says Jacquelyn Wenskus, Director and Fragrance Category Analyst, Beauty at Circana.

In 2023, the $64.4bn global fragrance market recorded double digit growth across both premium (+12.2%) and mass (+10.8%) according to Euromonitor International, and in 2024, retailers are continuing to see a positive trend.

Space NK’s Head of Seasonal, Sophie Wayman, tells Cosmetics Business: “Demand for fragrance has really started to ramp up and we would expect this to continue through 2024 – there are more and more brands launching into the market, such as DedCool, which bring a new take on the typically heritage led brands.

“It is certainly bringing in a new customer type for us.”

“Fragrance is definitely booming and ultimately brands are catering for all areas of the market,” explains Fiona Glen, Director of Projects at beauty brand consultancy The Red Tree.

“Average retail prices are being pushed up as many of the new brands entering the market are emerging way past the £100-plus retail mark. Then the strategies that brands are following at a lower level with dupes and alternative formats is interesting.”

For the heritage prestige brands, the premiumisation trend continues to work well, further pushing the demand for luxury fragrances.

Closely linked to this is the change in fragrance concentrations. Roz Wicks, founder of TrendAroma, says: “We started with eau de parfum, then we switched to parfum and intense versions, and now we have elixirs.”

Of the top three best selling men’s fragrance launches of 2023, two were elixirs – Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male Elixir and Paco Rabanne’s Invictus Victory Elixir – according to Circana.

But while intense variants march on, the opposing side of the scale is also experiencing a boom.

Hair mists and body sprays that include lower concentrations of perfume oils that are not as long-lasting, but are more budget-friendly are winning.

Scent that uniquely influences a mood or emotion is another key trend in fragrance currently.

Wenskus says: “This is subjective: examples include scents that evoke nostalgia, fulfil a luxury aspiration, smell delicious – the rising interest in gourmand – or even scents that fit into a particular trending aesthetic or vibe: think ‘clean girl fragrances’ and ‘mob-wife fragrances’.

Whatever the budget, mood or aesthetic, the industry is catering to all, and as such fragrance continues to thrill and captivate amid a changing consumer landscape.

Trends will be revealed in detail throughout May exclusively to subscribers, so don't miss out and subscribe.

Trend 1: Edible perfumes

Vanilla mainstreamed as the big fragrance obsession last year, and it turns out it was just the start of our renewed fixation with scented sweet treats.

In 2024, vanilla will continue as a main character, albeit with some surprising twists, as the latest launches set forth.

And the menu of gourmand fragrances is expanding and turning deliciously complex.

Brands are offering unique blends of ‘edible’ notes, as the trend wafts through bakeries, patisseries and sweet shops, picking up delectable accords and balancing them with woods, musks and elements of the unexpected.

This trend reveals how foodie fragrances will evolve next.

Trend 2: Smelling expensive

Consumers want to smell rich.

‘How to smell expensive’ has 28.3m views and counting on #PerfumeTok, and with this, the trend  branches off into different trails.

Whether it’s smelling ‘rich like a millionaire’, or smelling like ‘old money’ and ‘generational wealth’, the trend also moves into specific aesthetics: ‘how to smell like a mob wife’ has been circulating on social media.

This is value-seeking behaviour at its peak: consumers don’t just want generic value for money, the value they want is specifically for their purchases to smell of money, and in turn to feel as wealthy as the fragrance makes them smell.

So which perfumes fit the (dollar) bill? Here, Cosmetics Business reveals which fragrances are frequently associated with smelling expensive, and why this trend is resonating with consumers right now.

Trend 3: Loud budgeting: the fragrance edition

Quiet luxury is out and loud budgeting is in.

2024’s biggest #MoneyTok trend, ‘loud budgeting’ involves openly talking about why you might choose not to spend money on something, even if you are able to.

The fragrance equivalent of this, according to #PerfumeTok at least, is bagging a dupe that smells just like a luxury designer scent but for a fraction of the price.

But it doesn’t stop at dupes: fragrance consumers are also finding money-saving hacks through other affordable formats from minis to body sprays, and proudly talking about them on social media.

Being frugal is fashionable, but this trend explores why in perfumery, loud budgeting is a mindset that is clearly here to stay.

Trend 4: Navigating difficult emotions through niche fragrances

Mood-boosting fragrances continue to take a place in the spotlight, and nostalgic, comforting scents have reached peak popularity, but perfumery is not just a fair-weather friend.

A counter-movement is being increasingly explored within artistic niche perfumery in which fragrance navigates difficult or suppressed emotions, or even triggers or unlocks feelings of discomfort.

Perfume that helps us grieve, makes us reflect on the human experience, or even identify with our ‘shadow selves’ is the unexpected niche movement on the rise, as consumers grow increasingly attracted to perfumes that offer greater individuality and self-expression.

Trend 5: Gatekeeping fragrance

Celebrities do it, influencers do it, and there are reams of TikTok posts stating why everyone else should.

‘Gatekeeping’ fragrance – keeping your signature perfume secret to prevent others from copying it – is a trend gaining momentum.

On TikTok the phrase ‘Gatekeep perfume’ has 45.6 million posts as content creators share tips on everything from which fragrances are ‘worth gatekeeping’ to what to tell people when you don’t want to reveal your signature scent.

Roz Wicks, fragrance trend forecaster and founder of marketing agency TrendAroma, says consumers gatekeep scents because they view fragrance as an intimate part of their identity.

And she adds: “Celebrities are some serious gatekeepers when it comes to personal scents. Fans go crazy trying to spot clues.”

This article looks at what is driving the trend, and the impact that celebrity gatekeepers can have on brand discovery and sales.

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