NEW YORK -- The launch of CK One this fall is one more example of the growing masculinity of the fragrance market.
The scent, from industry powerhouse Calvin Klein Cosmetics, is one of this season's major introductions, and it will be aimed at men as well as women.
Although the men's fragrance category still has a long way to go before it approaches the market share of the women's, retailers say men's growth has outpaced women's for several years.
One sign of the trend is this year's department store fragrance launch schedule: In spite of the fact that the men's category in the U.S. is about half as big as the women's, prestige companies are introducing roughly the same number of major men's scents as women's.
According to industry estimates, the total U.S. women's fragrance market -- as measured in manufacturer's shipments -- was nearly twice the size of the men's market for 1993 in terms of dollars, or $1.9 billion versus just over $1 billion. But that dominance was due primarily to the higher price structure of women's fragrances.
In terms of units shipped, the two markets are much closer together. The women's market generated sales of 155 million packages, according to sources, while the men's totaled 140 million packages.
"I think 10 years ago the disparity was far greater," said Robert A. Nielsen, president of Aramis Inc. He attributed the increased parity within the industry to increased maturity and sophistication of men in their buying habits.
"Men have become more confident in shopping for themselves," he said. "They have no problem going in and buying a deodorant or spray or aftershave in a department store."
Nielsen quoted U.S. Census figures in noting that today there are 30 million men aged 35 to 55, and by the turn of the century there will be 40 million. Estimates vary from company to company on how much of men's fragrance purchasing is actually done by men, since individual companies do their own market research.
Nielsen estimated that 40 percent of men's fragrances are bought by men today, compared with only 15 percent four or five years ago.
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