Consumers fall out of love with celebrity fragrances as UK sales drop by 22%

By Sarah Parsons 24-Jan-2017

The sub-category has been steadily declining for five years as shoppers seek personally inspirational scents

The demand for celebrity fragrances are in decline, as sales fell by 22% last year.

Market research company The NPD Group reported that celebrity scents bucked the trend of the growing premium fragrance market, where sales grew £1,248m or 1.4% in 2016.

According to the latest figures, celebrity fragrances fell from roughly £56.5m in 2015 to £44.2m in 2016. The value of celebrity fragrance gift sets was 42% less in December 2016 compared to December 2015.

NPD attributes consumers losing interest in the sub-category to the shift in shopping behaviour and the demand for personally inspirational scents.

Teresa Fisher, Senior Account Manager, NPD UK Beauty, said: “The celebrity fragrance market has been an important element for premium beauty retailers, however, the decline in sales demonstrates a shift in consumer preference and purchasing behavior.

“Despite the slow down in the fragrance market in recent years, it grew by £16.8million in 2016, and the growth is driven by premium brands in the couture designer and niche sector.

“This shows what customers are really looking for from fragrances – something special for them, scents that represent them, and the luxurious retail experience and journey in store with a story telling approach.”

But the trend has been declining since 2011 outside of the UK. NPD previously reported that in US department stores total revenue from celebrity scents dropped from US$150m to $50.6m in just three years between 2011 and 2014.

Elizabeth Arden bought the rights to Justin Bieber's Someday in 2012

Elizabeth Arden bought the rights to Justin Bieber's Someday in 2012

Experts have previously debated the relevance of celebrity fragrances in the market when Elizabeth Arden, which creates scents for Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, saw net sales of non-Arden branded fragrances drop 9% by in a single quarter in 2015.

Coty Chairman has previously spoken bluntly about the declining sales. Bart Becht told Hollywood Reporter the sub-category has “seen its heyday and now is not very much in vogue with the consumer or with the trade."

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Fragrance makes a substantial contribution to the success of the prestige beauty market where sales were valued at £2.5bn in 2016, up from £2.4bn in 2015.