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Holiday Shopping Boosts Prestige Fragrance Sales 4 Percent

The NPD Group reports that sales of scent grew 4 percent from Oct. 2 through Dec. 3.

Fragrance sales, which have been swelling since the pandemic began, are getting an added lift from holiday shopping season.

According to The NPD Group, fragrance sales grew 4 percent from Oct. 4 through Dec. 2.

The increase is due in part to climbing price averages and fewer discounts, as well as consumers opting for higher-priced offerings — a prevailing trend this year.

“Fragrance sales reached new heights following the pandemic, and it’s particularly impressive that the market is maintaining this elevated level rather than softening, which is typically the case after such an unprecedented performance,” Larissa Jensen, beauty industry adviser at NPD, said in a statement.

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Brick-and-mortar fragrance sales far outpaced the category’s performance in the online channel, comprising 70 percent of the category’s sales in the nine weeks ending Dec. 3. This was fueled both by higher in-store prices versus online, and consumers’ return to physical stores.

Last month, NPD reported that fragrance sales reached $1.3 billion in the third quarter of 2022, an 11 percent increase versus the same period last year. Prestige beauty at large grew 15 percent during the quarter, posting $6 billion in sales.

And it’s more than likely that the remainder of the year will see even more sizable gains.

“Considering that most holiday shopping for fragrances occurs within the two weeks leading up to Christmas, and December alone accounts for over 50 percent of fourth-quarter sales, much of the fragrance category’s sales success for 2022 is yet to be determined,” said Jensen.

In August, Coty Inc.’s chief executive officer, Sue Nabi, spoke with WWD about the “fragrance effect” — a spin on Leonard A. Lauder’s lipstick index, which states that cosmetics sales rise during times of economic uncertainty — in light of the company’s strong performance in the category as of late.

Said Nabi, “Fragrances speak to everyone — whatever the age, whatever the gender, and what we have seen, which is the reality of the data and statistics, is that this beauty market is lifted by fragrance consumption and this is not female or male. It’s both and it’s mainly also Gen Z.”