The Gen Z Fragrance Phenomenon
You could say the global fragrance industry is experiencing a ‘youthquake’. That’s because Gen Z is reimagining how we experience and enjoy fragrances at all price points. This ground-breaking news comes from a comprehensive study by market research firm Circana, formerly known as NPD Group. (This is the firm that studies and tracks sales, trends and retail performance.)
To start, Circana’s fragrance report states that Gen Z fragrance usage increased 5% this past year to a whopping 83%. Those aged 13 to 26 wear fragrance at least three times per week. “Gen Z ranks highest when it comes to heavy (fragrance) usage,” says Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at Circana. “They are now more engaged with the category than millennials.” She believes that the pandemic may have spurred this newfound love affair with fragrance. Men and women were literally locked in their homes and apartments for months and with more time on their hands, started trying fragrance discovery kits. The trend snowballed from there. “Gen Z shoppers are more also most likely to buy a scent for themselves several times a year, compared to other age cohorts, though all generations seek to treat themselves to fragrances.”
The big discovery from the study is literally changing how fragrance houses market and promote fragrances. “Mood is central to motivating purchases.” She says 80% of fragrance users say that scent is crucial for enhancing or lifting their moods. This is revolutionary since for the past century, fragrance has been advertised for its sex appeal. Gen Z isn’t interested in that approach. They want to feel better, happier, uplifted from their fragrances.
What’s interesting to note, is this new generation is searching out unique and interesting brands with fascinating backstories. They want a complete scent experience and that extends to packaging, founder’s story and interesting ingredients. This is great news for the fragrance industry as a whole as it will encourage established brands to be more daring and to take creative risks.