Aug 06, 2020 | By Sarah Owen
Big data meets consumer insights. Experience WGSN.
Fragrance has been finding a new purpose in peoples’ lives for some time. Going beyond embellishment, functional fragrances that are formulated to boost or improve mood or physical wellbeing have been gaining traction and this has been hugely accelerated by Covid-19.
Fearful consumers are actively seeking beauty products – including scents – that boost immunity in order to future-proof themselves against further outbreaks. Increased financial pressures also mean consumers are redefining value beyond cost. Multifunctional products are in demand and this has crossed over into the fragrance sector. Functional fragrances have also taken a more emotive direction during lockdown, providing both a means of escape and connection.
With our freedom to explore the outside world or spend time with loved ones curtailed by travel restrictions, FOGO and finances, transportive scents are enabling people to ‘travel’ beyond their home and local environments. Scent is a powerful trigger and one of the core ways we experience life and memory. It has also been shown to provide reassurance and comfort in times of stress, something which has been key during the coronavirus outbreak.
People are now buying perfume for themselves rather than to make an impression and as a result, demand for transportive fragrances that reassure or boost mood is increasing. We’re seeing scents that are familiar, scents of events, festivals, sporting events, foods, people and even everyday normalities such as the pub or the cinema. The familiarity of these scents and ‘quieter’, less poetic language of these fragrances also increase their online appeal as shoppers are happier to buy without testing. With people likely to spend less time in-store, even once restrictions are eased, this shift should be a priority.
Also tapping into the stress receiving nature of nostalgia, so-called ‘Grandma fragrances’ have seen a resurgence during lockdown, with sales of traditional scents such as Chanel No 5 growing. Again their familiarity makes them easier to buy online, but we’re expecting to see this fragrance trend extend beyond lockdown, with notes including gardinia and lavender ones to watch.
The power of fragrance is also extending beyond perfume. As well as the ‘scentification’ of hair, bath and body products and even colour cosmetics, there’s a huge demand for functional fragrances for the home. As well as candles and diffusers (which have seen a surge in demand during lockdown), home tech devices such as Scentee are using pre-programmed functional fragrances to alter or enhance mood, such as invigorating scents to wake up to, cognitive-enhancing scents when working and calming fragrances to aid restful sleep. Scent playlists are definitely on the horizon.
Functional fragrances are also extending into automotive with scents for cars. As well as traditional air fresheners, functional fragrance in a smarts cars can be delivered via the air con when the car detects the driver is tired or stressed.
There’s no doubt, in these uncertain times, fragrance will continue to have an important role to play, offering escapism, reassurance and boosting wellbeing – an olfactory tonic for the times.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.