One of beauty’s most esteemed players is looking at one of its oldest categories with new eyes.
Estée Lauder is introducing a luxury fragrance collection consisting of eight stock keeping units. Simply dubbed the Estée Lauder Luxury Fragrance Collection, it’s the first time the brand has ventured above prestige pricing into fragrance’s luxury stratosphere, with prices ranging from $95 to $190 for 40 milliliters and 100 milliliters, respectively.
The brand is bullish on introducing the pillar, given that all eight skus cater to myriad olfactory trends for its ever-diversifying global consumer.
In the brand’s earlier days, fragrance was integral to the brand’s assortment — its first fragrance launch was Youth Dew in 1953 — and the organization is hoping to cash in on reignited consumer interest in the category.
Stéphane de La Faverie, group president at the Estée Lauder Cos., cited the “acceleration of luxury, fine fragrances as a whole” as an impetus for the launch.
“We see what I could call an inversion of the pyramid, with a rapid, rapid acceleration of the luxury and niche fragrances. While prestige is still the biggest category, the one that has the most amount of growth is definitely luxury,” he said.
“It’s been part of the D.N.A. of the brand for many, many years, and I see this luxury collection as a natural evolution for us,” he added.
Although de La Faverie would not comment on sales, industry sources estimate the collection’s first-year global sales to reach $80 million at retail.
Beauty brands from Tom Ford to Chanel have betted on fragrance collections in the past, and de La Faverie is confident that the technology — and olfactive preferences — behind the collection will poise it for success.
“With collection fragrances, they are allowing us to target different consumers in different places around the world,” he said. “It allows us to really target deeper the Chinese consumer, the American consumer, the European consumer and so forth.”
The brand is also introducing proprietary technology, known as the ScentCapture Fragrance Extenders, which purport to give each of the fragrances 12-hour wear. “It goes beyond other points of differentiation, and I’m convinced it’s going to resonate everywhere,” de La Faverie said.
Furthermore, the brand has conducted third-party neurosensory studies in the U.S. on the emotional effects of each fragrance. According to a statement from the brand, fragrances can evoke feelings of “positivity and joy” or “calm and happiness.”
“For each of the fragrances, we were able to demonstrate through independent neurosensory testing what the benefit will be when you get it,” de La Faverie said.
“When you think about the two things — the long-lastingness, and the emotion, you put the best of these two [technologies] into one, it’s going to be unique and is going to resonate from China to Europe,” he continued.
Speaking of emotion, de La Faverie said the strategic implications of the launch included connecting with consumers outside of ingredient-driven and tactile categories like skin care and makeup.
“Going into fragrances allows us to have emotional territory that is critical for the brand,” he said. “That really helps us to connect with the emotion of the consumer. That will reinforce the positioning of our portfolio, and the strength of the luxury portfolio for the company, and that is really a critical key.”
Always distribution-minded, the fragrances will only be available “in a fraction of where the Estée Lauder brand is,” de La Faverie said, although he’s setting his sights on creating high-touch experiences digitally.
“Consumers are spending more time online than ever before, and they want to learn, and they want storytelling,” he said. “In our case, we’re creating new ways of interacting with the consumer through technology — it’s not technology for the sake of technology, but to really harness the consumer experience.”
In brick-and-mortar locations, Lauder is incorporating artificial intelligence to capture the emotions of shoppers as they smell the fragrances. “Depending on your reaction, it can say ‘this might fit better for you based on what your mood at the moment is,'” de La Faverie explained. “Online allows us with brick-and-mortar to connect with the consumer in a very different way than ever before.”
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