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Markets & trends

Are perfume brands really aware of trends?

Aurélie Dematons, Director of Le Musc et la Plume, has been at the forefront of perfumery for over seven years, helping brands get through all the different phases in their developments. Trained to olfactory analyses for years, she has relied on the expertise of four partners from different worlds to conduct a study based on transversal analyses. This sophisticated approach reveals 2016 trends sometimes unexpected, or even ignored – a Bible in the present to understand the future.

Floral fragrances only represent 32.5% of the products purchased, while historically, every year, they accounted for the majority of the products launched (about 60%). Photo: © Elena Kharichkina / shutterstock.com

Floral fragrances only represent 32.5% of the products purchased, while historically, every year, they accounted for the majority of the products launched (about 60%). Photo: © Elena Kharichkina / shutterstock.com

First, the agency worked with NPD: with their cash payment statistics, they shed a factual light on the selective market. “It is a way to put trends analyses into perspective, compared to the reality of the market,” Aurélie Dematons observes. “Sometimes, we get really surprised.” For example, NPD data show that in the category of women’s perfumes, floral fragrances only represent 32.5% of the products purchased, while historically, every year, they accounted for the majority of the products launched (about 60%). “Why do we keep launching so many floral perfumes, when according to NPD data, consumers prefer oriental ones?” Aurélie Dematons asks.

Pop, among others

Philippe Pourhashémi, founder of the Supremeye website, and journalist, designer, and talent scout in the world of fashion, is another partner of Aurélie Dematons’s, who identifies channels of influences thanks to his fashion expertise. In 2016, POP was one of the most dominant of them. “The Pop trend is a transversal trend: it can be found everywhere, in fashion, art, and perfumery.

With Pop, Aurélie Dematons describes a quick, colourful approach adopted by consumers who influence communication and packaging the same way as the olfactory strategy. “In communication, it is characterized by a very visual, playful way to seduce today’s young people, in particular on social networks, for example Instagram, which has really become a key vehicle for both major and small perfume brands,” Aurélie Dematons explains.

From an olfactory standpoint, it is conveyed by floral and fruity fragrances, whose top notes are designed for consumers to be attracted very fast in store,” she adds. The Pop trend expresses an urgent need to revive freedom and good humour and be joyful again. The perfumes following this movement take the opposite course of the year 2016, when the climate was stressful due to terrorist attacks and the loss of… pop icons!

Well-thought-out bottles and samples

The third expert consulted was Hakim Azib, founder of the Bowe studio. “It was important to notice how packaging follows certain codes,” Aurélie Dematons explains. As an example, the study shows a return to themes that highlight the dressmaking heritage of renowned companies. This trend is illustrated with decorations that often sport a knot (Bottega Veneta, Burberry…). “This sort of tiny details marks the establishment and close relationship between perfumery and the DNA of the House that inspired them.

Lastly, with Annie Begnaud, founder of the Ab Agency, the study focused on the new means of expression and distribution implemented to make consumers discover products (samples accompanying the product, boxes, data targeting and cross-referencing…).

Perfume trends by genre, transversal trends, 2016 news… the study conducted by Le Musc et la Plume deciphers last perfume year from all angles. “It is designed like a reference object that is easy to read in order to understand where we come from and where we are going,” Aurélie Dematons concludes.

Study available in hard copy or as a training presentation.

Kristel Milet

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