Fragrance – a new golden age?

The fragrance market has bounced back with the launch of creative, high profile fragrances, reinterpretations of classics, a new generation of oriental scents and increased focus on sustainable packaging

Elie Saab


Following a period of creative stagnation, the fragrance market has bounced back, bringing with it a new twist on classic perfumery. Emma Reinhold looks at how this artistic focus is bringing excitement back to the sector

Enduring, classic scents are the cornerstone of the perfumery business but in recent years the focus on creativity and quality has waned.

Designer brands such as Jimmy Choo, Bottega Veneta and Elie Saab have all made their scent debuts this year and have placed a focus on quality ingredients and fashion heritage

The recession, rising raw material costs and a squeeze on consumer spending have all contributed to the sector playing it safe. However renewed confidence from both brands and consumers over the last year has helped reignite that badly needed creative spark.

“2010 was the year of the rebound,” says Felix Mayr-Harting, global head of fine fragrance, Givaudan. “After the destocking effect, we saw some comeback in both consumer confidence and a significant restocking effort.”

According to Euromonitor International, global fragrance sales reached £25.5bn in 2010, up from £24bn in 2009 with the industry outlook for 2011 remaining optimistic. The sentiment has been shared by many big brands which have unveiled blockbuster launches in the second semester of this year.

“There are a lot of great launches at the moment

but we are seeing fewer launches than in recent years,” continues Mayr-Harting. “Brands are launching fragrances to last.”

“Developments have been managed more wisely and thoughtfully,” notes Catherine Bru, director FDG, fine fragrances, IFF. “The really good effect of the recession has been to push everyone to challenge their way of working. Today we see people trying to work/develop differently, trying to reinvent the market. This may take time but this is certainly welcomed.”

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