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Homebound shoppers are finding comfort in scented candles, home fragrances this holiday season

Homebound shoppers are finding comfort in scented candles, home fragrances this holiday season

Voluspa scented candles on the market at Bloomingdale’s Inc. flagship division retailer in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.

Nina Westervelt | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Fragrance and cologne are usually well-liked vacation items. This yr, nevertheless, the wonder trade is getting a lift from a special sort of perfume: Dwelling scents.

The rationale? Customers are shopping for candles, diffusers and different scented gadgets as they take consolation in smaller indulgences through the coronavirus pandemic, mentioned Larissa Jensen, vice chairman and sweetness trade advisor for market researcher The NPD Group.

“Dwelling scent has been a powerful performer all yr,” Jensen mentioned. “All of that is actually tied to the truth that we’re extra homebound than ever.”

The class has turn into a uncommon brilliant spot for magnificence retailers as customers skip eyeshadow and lipstick whereas social distancing and sporting a masks. Perfume gross sales declined 17% from January to September yr over yr, in keeping with The NPD Group, which tracks gross sales in department shops and specialty magnificence retailers. Throughout that very same interval, residence scent gross sales grew 13% and gross sales of residence scent reward units, similar to a candle paired with a lotion, grew 22%, in keeping with NPD.

Perfume, which incorporates every part from perfumes to candles, has additionally rebounded faster than every other magnificence class through the international well being disaster. Make-up gross sales dropped by 31% within the third quarter yr over yr, in keeping with NPD. Perfume, then again, grew by 1% through the three-month interval.

“Perfume has been this ‘Little Engine That Might’ in some ways,” Jensen mentioned. “The velocity of its restoration is actually shocking.”

She mentioned perfume reward units have gained recognition, too — and never simply as an merchandise to wrap up for a buddy or member of the family. Some customers see the packages as a greater deal, particularly if they’ve misplaced earnings or a job through the pandemic.

“Customers are actually on the lookout for that worth now, greater than ever,” she mentioned.

Jensen mentioned she’s contributed to the house scent development, too. She’s stocked up on candles and now burns them all through the day to make her residence really feel brighter and extra cozy.

“All of us need to escape this yr,” she mentioned.

When Ulta Magnificence reported its third-quarter outcomes Thursday, the corporate mentioned perfume and tub was its high class for gross sales, with double-digit progress. Different classes dragged offset this progress, nevertheless. Gross sales at shops open no less than 14 months and on-line through the quarter dropped practically 9% yr over yr.

Ulta shares closed Friday down 3.45% to $279.54, dragging down its market worth to $15.7 billion. The corporate’s shares are up about 10% yr thus far.

Bathtub & Physique Works, owned by L Manufacturers, has gotten a bounce from perfume. Andrew Meslow, CEO of L Manufacturers, mentioned at an investor convention hosted by Morgan Stanley on Wednesday that Bathtub & Physique Works clients are participating extra with model, a development that “has actually been accentuated or accelerated right here within the Covid timeframe.”

Not solely are clients shopping for extra cleaning soap and hand sanitizer, he mentioned they’re additionally “desirous to make the house much more customized and a spot that feels nice to be in additional regularly, whether or not it is as an workplace or as a faculty or no matter objective it might be serving.”

That’s bringing them again to search for new scents and seasonal fragrances. And, he mentioned, some see candles, physique lotions and perfume mists as “reasonably priced luxuries” through the recession.

Bathtub & Physique Works had file gross sales and earnings within the third quarter. Identical-store gross sales jumped 56%. The corporate mentioned two-thirds of its greenback progress got here from the house perfume and physique care classes, whereas one-third of the expansion got here from soaps and sanitizers.

Shares of L Manufacturers have greater than doubled to this point this yr, bringing its share value to $38.25 and its market worth to $10.6 billion at market shut Friday. Pandemic-related developments have helped its Pink model, too, as customers purchase pajamas and comfortable garments and offset declining gross sales at Victoria’s Secret.

On retailers’ web sites and on the magnificence counter, Jensen of NPD mentioned clients have been extra prepared to splurge when shopping for perfumes and colognes in latest months. She mentioned they’re selecting juices with the next focus of perfume oils that value extra however last more.

She mentioned customers could also be prepared to spend extra on scents as a result of they’re carefully tied to feelings.

“Scent is very distinctive to all people,” she mentioned. “Perhaps individuals wish to convey again the recollections of what time was like earlier than the pandemic and going again to previous fragrances that they used to like.”


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