Voluspa scented candles for sale in the Bloomingdale & # 39; s Inc. flagship department store in New York, the United States, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
Nina Westervelt | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Perfume and cologne are usually popular Christmas gifts. However, this year the beauty industry is getting a boost from another type of fragrance: home fragrances.
The reason? Buyers are buying candles, diffusers, and other scented items to be comfortable in smaller indulgences during the coronavirus pandemic, said Larissa Jensen, vice president and beauty industry advisor for market researcher The NPD Group.
"The scent of home has been a strong performer all year round," said Jensen. "All of this really has to do with the fact that we are more homebound than ever."
The category has become a rare ray of hope for beauty retailers as shoppers skip eye shadow and lipstick while social distancing themselves and wearing a mask. According to The NPD Group, which tracks sales at department and beauty stores, fragrance sales were down 17% year over year from January through September. During the same period, sales of home fragrances rose by 13%, according to the NPD, and sales of gift sets for home fragrances, such as. B. a candle in combination with a lotion, by 22%.
Scent, which includes everything from perfumes to candles, has recovered faster than any other beauty category during the global health crisis. According to the NPD, makeup sales were down 31% year over year in the third quarter. The fragrance, on the other hand, grew by 1% over the three-month period.
"The scent was, in many ways, that 'little engine that could'" said Jensen. "The speed of his recovery is really surprising."
She said that scented gift sets have also grown in popularity – and not just as gifts for a friend or family member. Some buyers see the packages as a better deal, especially if they lost income or work during the pandemic.
"Consumers are now looking for that value more than ever," she said.
Jensen said she also contributed to the scented potion. She filled up candles and now burns them all day to make her home feel brighter and cozier.
"We all want to flee this year," she said.
When Ulta Beauty announced third quarter results on Thursday, the company said fragrance and bath were the top tier of sales with double-digit growth. However, other categories have offset this growth. Sales in stores that have been open for at least 14 months and online are down nearly 9% year over year for the quarter.
Ulta shares closed 3.45% to $ 279.54 on Friday, dropping their market value to $ 15.7 billion. The company's shares are up around 10% since the start of the year.
Bath & Body Works, owned by L Brands, has gotten a jump from fragrance. Andrew Meslow, CEO of L Brands, told an investor conference hosted by Morgan Stanley on Wednesday that Bath & Body Works customers are getting more involved with the brand, a trend that "has really been accentuated or accelerated here in the Covid timeframe".
Not only are customers buying more soap and hand sanitizer, but they also want to "personalize their homes and find a place that feels comfortable to be around more often, be it as an office or school or whatever." " can serve. "
That brings them back to look for new fragrances and seasonal fragrances. And, he said, some see candles, body lotions, and scented mists as "affordable luxuries" during the recession.
Bath & Body Works achieved record sales and profits in the third quarter. Sales in the same store increased 56%. The company said two-thirds of its dollar growth came from the home fragrances and personal care categories, while one-third of the growth came from soaps and disinfectants.
L Brands shares have more than doubled so far this year, bringing the share price to $ 38.25 and market value to $ 10.6 billion as of Friday's close. Pandemic-related trends have also helped the Pink brand, as shoppers buy pajamas and comfy clothing, offsetting declining sales at Victoria's Secret.
On retailer websites and at the beauty counter, Jensen from NPD said customers have been more willing to indulge themselves when buying perfumes and colognes in recent months. She said they choose juices with a higher concentration of fragrance oils that cost more but last longer.
She said buyers might be willing to spend more on fragrances because they are closely related to emotions.
"The scent is particularly unique for everyone," she said. "Maybe people want to bring back pre-pandemic memories and return to old smells they used to love."