While factors influencing fragrance purchasing by women—such as price, celebrity endorsement or season—may be well known, the latest research from Mintel reveals the biggest influence may not be a fixed factor. It seems mood is now the most popular motivator of fragrance choice for women, as more than half (54%) of female fragrance users decide what fragrance to use based on how they’re feeling.
Coming in at second place, 31% of fragrance users say they decide which fragrance to apply based on their activity (work function vs. a personal outing). Meanwhile, 26% of users decide based on the time of day, and 25% decide based on what they’re wearing. Those older than 45 are more likely to wear one fragrance, or a signature scent, so they’re less likely to base their choice on their clothing or mood.
“Women in the 18–44 age range are more prone to change their fragrance based on a number of different factors, while those older than 45 are more brand-loyal,” says Kat Fay, senior beauty analyst at Mintel. “This may be a result of these younger women juggling multiple activities and responsibilities with a busy work schedule. While they may deem a certain scent appropriate for the office, they might choose a more flirty scent for social functions.”
Motivations for fragrance purchase differ just as much as fragrance choice, but the clear favorite is in-store samples. Sixty-nine percent of fragrance owners say they’re motivated to purchase a new fragrance based on samples they’ve tried in a store, while 26% cite a recommendation from a family member or friend as the impetus behind a new purchase.
“Women have to experience a scent to make sure it’s appropriate, as there aren’t many objective criteria they can use to test smell,” adds Fay. “Female consumers often say that a fragrance smells different on their skin than it does out of the bottle, so trying an in-store sample increases the likelihood that they’ll still be happy with their purchase once they get it home.”
For women who don’t wear a fragrance, 28% say they have no interest in using them, 20% say they’re allergic and 14% say they’ve yet to find a scent they like.