CHICAGO, September 21, 2023 – Fragrance usage in the U.S. is slightly up this year, compared to 2022, led by younger consumers. In fact, Gen Z’s usage has expanded significantly, up 5 percentage points to 83%, according to findings from Circana’s Fragrance Consumer Report 2023.
Compared to total fragrance wearers, Gen Z over-indexes when it comes to a number of factors. Consumers aged 13 through 26 rank highest when it comes to heavy usage, or wearing fragrance at least three times a week, and are now more engaged with the category than Millennials. Gen Z is also the generation that is most likely to purchase fragrance for themselves multiple times per year.
The Gen Z effect is also moving the needle when it comes to social media’s influence on fragrance purchases. TikTok rose to the number-two spot among consumers citing social media for influencing their fragrance purchase decisions, driven by Gen Z and growing Millennial interest. The percentage of men who cited TikTok as an influence to purchase also increased significantly this year, compared to 2022.
“For success, fragrance brands and manufacturers must capture the hearts and wallets of Gen Z and Millennials, who are the most important generations when it comes to use and interest in the category,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at Circana.
Consumers overall continue to appreciate fragrance for its mood-boosting capabilities, with 80% of fragrance users reporting that “fragrance is helpful in lifting or enhancing my mood.” Across generations, the desire to ‘treat’ oneself is the leading purchase driver. These positive consumer sentiments also reflect in the actual retail sales data. Within the prestige beauty market, fragrance sales revenue grew by 13% from January through August 2023 versus last year, with an increase in both average prices and units sold, according to retailer point-of-sale data from Circana.
“Since the peak pandemic period, the fragrance market continues to bask in the sweet smell of sales success because of its highly personal and emotive nature,” said Jensen. “With healthy sales thus far in 2023, fragrance is stepping into the holiday season in a nice position for what is among the top purchase occasions for this category.”