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Forward Thinking: In the Air

Contact Author Amy Marks-McGee
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In the air freshener category, for the 52-week period ending August 10, 2014, sales rose 1% to $2.6 billion in total U.S. multi-outlet w/C-store (supermarkets, drugstores, mass market retailers, gas/C-stores, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains) according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Furthermore, IRI reports that the U.S. mass market candle category accounted for $1.2 billion, a 5% decrease, over the same time period and distribution channels. In 2013, the growth in mass market air care was primarily driven by automotive/car fresheners. IRI data reveals a 13% increase in 2013 (year ending December 29), while Euromonitor reports an 18% growth in 2013. U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $2 billion annually, excluding sales of candle accessories, according to the National Candle Association. The Kline Group estimates that luxury candle sales grew by 1.9% in 2013.

Apart from the form or distribution channel, fragrance plays a significant factor in the air care experience, and the consumer is much more educated about scent than ever before. “Consumers are becoming more fragrance savvy and requesting more sophisticated, complex fragrances,” says Katie Bell, marketing research manager at Cosmo International Fragrances.

Kelly Jones, marketing director, home care for Takasago states that “in our fast-paced world, the air care consumer is becoming highly sophisticated.” For example, research from the National Candle Association shows that candles are used in seven out of 10 U.S. households, and fragrance is by far the most important characteristic impacting candle purchases today, with three-fourths of candle buyers saying it is “extremely important” or “very important” in their selection of a candle. Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing of Arylessence, states, “Consumers love fragrancing their personal spaces. Today’s consumers are enticed and motivated to try new fragrances. They enjoy and appreciate variety, as well as fragrances that offer an experience.”

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