NPD Group: Fragrances moves up as top item on holiday gift lists

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The annual holiday retail study by the NPD Group, a global information company, has revealed that fragrance moved up the ladder as a top gift on consumers’ holiday shopping lists. Following the footsteps of last year’s survey, fragrance continued to rise and climbed from the No. 8 to the No. 6 position this year.

In previous years, fragrance has been consistently ranked at No. 10, but in 2011, fragrance moved up to the No. 8 spot. And while 14% of consumers reported plans to purchase fragrance as a holiday gift; 17% of consumers reported that they actually did purchase fragrance as a holiday gift.

“Fragrance is having a second banner year,” stated Karen Grant, VP and senior global industry analyst for the NPD Group. “This holiday will not be just about the latest gadget or smartphone. Consumers are seeing fragrance as a sweet treat for themself or someone special.”

According to NPD, during the first 10 months of 2012 (January to October), total prestige fragrance dollar sales in U.S. department stores were nearly $1.8 billion, up 7%, compared with the same time last year. Units grew 2% with more than 27 million units sold.

 In addition, men’s fragrances overall fared a little better than women’s as that category grew 7% in dollars and women’s grew 6% year to date, January to October 2012. The real boost in sales came from men’s prestige fragrance gift set sales, which doubled in growth, 14% versus 7% growth of women’s fragrance gift set sales for the same time period.

“Shoppers are loving the fragrance offerings this year. From classics to new, from women’s to men’s, from woody notes to sweet florals, from premium niche offerings to under one ounce rollerballs, there is something to delight everyone. Add into the mix the increase in unit activity, and you will see it’s not just more expensive products that are selling; rather, there are more products selling and that is an encouraging sign heading into the holidays,” Grant stated.