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Fragrance #6 on Shoppers' Holiday Lists, Study Reveals

Posted: December 10, 2012

Fragrance has been climbing to the top rung of consumers’ holiday shopping lists this year, according to an annual holiday retail study. 

The study, conducted by The NPD Group Inc., said fragrance's position on consumers' lists continued to rise and climbed to number six, as compared to number eight a year ago. In previous years, fragrance has been consistently ranked at number 10. In addition, 14% of consumers reported plans to purchase fragrance as a holiday gift; 17% of consumers reported that they actually did purchase fragrance as a holiday gift.

“Fragrance is having a second banner year,” said Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst for The NPD Group. “This holiday will not be just about the latest gadget or smartphone. Consumers are seeing fragrance as a sweet treat for themselves or someone special.”

According to NPD, during the first 10 months of 2012 (January to October), total prestige fragrance dollar sales in U.S. department stores were nearly $1.8 billion, up 7%, compared to the same time last year. Units grew 2% with over 27 million units sold. In addition, men’s fragrances overall fared a little better than women’s as that category grew 7% in dollars and women’s grew 6% year-to-date, January to October 2012.

The real boost in sales came from men’s prestige fragrance gift set sales, which doubled in growth, 14% vs. 7% growth of women’s fragrance gift set sales for the same time period.

“Shoppers are loving the fragrance offerings this year: from classics to new, from women’s to men’s, from woody notes to sweet florals, from premium niche offerings to under one ounce rollerballs, there is something to delight everyone. Add into the mix the increase in unit activity and you will see it’s not just more expensive products that are selling, rather, there are more products selling and that is an encouraging sign heading into the holidays,” Grant added.

According to The NPD Group, the top five best-selling total prestige fragrance brands year-to-date (January – October 2012) are:  

1. Coco Mademoiselle

2. Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme

3. Bleu De Chanel

4. Light Blue

5. Chanel No. 5