Global Scent Trends – Mintel

Global Scent Trends – Mintel

Recognizing the power of fragrance to drive product upgrade, category segmentation and added-value in personal care and household products

Scent is one of the most important attributes when choosing personal care and household products. Across borders, and regardless of product categories, scent is typically ranked by consumers as one of the three most important purchase drivers in personal care and household products.

In the soap, bath and shower gel and deodorant categories, where fragrance is one of the most important features of product marketing, scent ranks as highly as, or even higher than, functional benefits. According to Mintel’s research in Europe’s big 5 markets, liquid body wash buyers rank scent as the most important buying attribute (67%), followed by moisturising (61%). Fragrance is as important as long-lasting protection for deodorant users (55% versus 57%).

Even in categories where marketing typically tends to focus on functionality, scent comes very high up on consumers’ agendas. It is ranked as the most important attribute when choosing bodycare products by two thirds of US consumers. In haircare, 42% of US consumers choose a shampoo or conditioner because it has a fragrance they like.

In household categories, fragrance ranks as the top purchase driver for fabric softener for around six in 10 buyers in Europe’s big 5 markets. It is the third most important attribute in laundry detergent at 40% and even in hard surface cleaners, where cleaning power and antibacterial functions prevail, scent still ranks as the fourth most important attribute for 42% of category users.

Increasing the sophistication of scent in functional products

The importance placed on fragrance has been recognized by brands and manufacturers who are increasingly putting scent at the centre of product development, marketing and positioning. Sophisticated fragrances are increasingly seen in household products which traditionally focused more on functional and cleaning benefits, while scent is here to support the functional and technical image of these products.

Nowadays, it is common to see household products such as all-purpose cleaners and dishwashing liquids featuring fine fragrance-inspired scents. For instance Cif Cream Cleaner exists in two new scented variants of Iris Flower & Violet Petals and Strawberry & Lily Kiss. Comfort Creations fabric conditioner is claimed to be blended by perfume experts. The air freshener range Air Wick National Parks Collection introduced at the start of 2014 underlines Air Wick’s recent focus on more premium fragrance variants to drive value sales.

Cif Iris Flowers & Violet Petals Cream Cleaner

Cif Iris Flowers & Violet Petals Cream Cleaner

Snapdragon & Patchouli Fabric Conditioner

Comfort Creations Snapdragon & Patchouli Fabric Conditioner

Introducing new scented rituals

There is room to introduce new scented rituals into consumers’ daily grooming habits, helping to create new categories, drive more usage occasion and add value to traditional perfume formats. For instance hair perfumes are a hybrid of haircare product and fragrance and feature benefits like UV protection, moisturising, anti-static and adding shine while perfuming the hair. Mintel’s research finds significant consumer interest in this format in the US, where six in 10 female fragrance wearers express interest in hair perfume that provides haircare benefits and 21% say they would pay more for this.

Similarly, 63% of US fragrance users are interested in fragrances that can be sprayed on clothing/fabric with added fabric care benefits including 20% who would pay more for this.

Hair Perfume

label.m Hair Perfume     

Protective Hair Perfume

Sachajuan Protective Hair Perfum

Fresh in wash scent booster

 Downy UnStopables Fresh In-Wash Scent Booster

New products like Tom Ford for Men Conditioning Beard Oil links the facial care and the fragrance categories. The oil is designed to condition, soften and nourish the beard for daily grooming and is available in three of Tom Ford’s fragrances: Oud Wood, Neroli Portofino, and Tobacco Vanille.

Conditioning Beard Oil

Tom Ford for Men Oud Wood Conditioning Beard Oil

Fragrance enables further segmentation of categories

The scent of a product also enables more segmentation within product categories, offering various options depending on demographics, the occasion, the time of the day and the place where it is used.

P&G Sweet Dream Collection laundry line features a scent to help consumers relax before falling asleep. The line includes Tide plus A touch of Downy Sweet Dream and Downy Unstoppable Dreams, formulated with ingredients to clean, soften and refresh bedtime fabrics while helping to create an ideal sleep environment.

It is now common to find seasonal variants in household products, attracting consumer’s attention due to their original scent. But their fragrance can bring more than just the smell, it also supports added value such as skincare benefits. For instance in the co-branded Dawn Ultra with Olay Beauty Hand Renewal Dishwashing Liquid features a caring peach and almond scent that helps legitimise the skincare benefits in consumers’ minds.

 Method Laundry Detergent

Method’s Limited Edition 8X Laundry Detergent    

       Scent Dishwashing Liquid

Dawn Ultra with Olay Beauty Hand Renewal Peach and Almond Scent Dishwashing Liquid            

Consumers buy products as much for their functional qualities as for their scent. But the fragrance of personal care and household products is more than just a nice smell. Understanding the power of scent to influence mood will help create new categories, new usage occasions and further segmentation of categories and add value.

For more information, please visit Mintel at stand 7S70 at In-Cosmetics, join our interactive product demonstrations in the Innovation Zone and come to our presentation at the marketing trends theatre at 14.15pm on 14 April.


About Mintel

Mintel Beauty & Personal Care is the leading research service for the beauty industry, used by 3,000 brands globally. One of Mintel’s key trends for 2015 is Rituals, an examination of the changing approach to beauty regimens across the world. Visit Mintel in the Innovation Zone at in-cosmetics Barcelona for a tour of some key products that feature in these rituals and learn about some of the implications of customisation and hybrids on future rituals.


For more information please contact us:


Americas: +1 (312) 932 0400

Europe: +44 (0)20 7778 7155

Asia: +86 (21) 63866609

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *