Shedding light on the Great Mysteries

I’ve been trolling through databases and scholarly articles over the past months looking for information about consumer behavior; specifically, that behavior related to perfume buying and the perfume industry over the past 100 years. To answer the question, “Why do we buy and wear perfume?”

You know, other than to smell good.

There isn’t much out there. Well… let me take that back. There’s tons of info out there, just not quite what I have in mind. I stumbled on this article today, over at Perfume & Flavorist—it’s a fabulous example of the type of (dramatic pause) research taking place within the perfume world.

Drum role, please:

Why do we buy perfume? We buy perfume… because we feel like it! And, this is important: we buy perfume because we tried it!

“… mood is now the most popular motivator of fragrance choice for women, as more than half (54%) of female fragrance users decide what fragrance to use based on how they’re feeling.” Wowzers.

Stand down Sergeant! There’s an exception! “Those older than 45 are more likely to wear one fragrance, or a signature scent, so they’re less likely to base their choice on their clothing or mood…” and are overall “more brand-loyal,” according to the Mintel* expert consulted.

Regardless of our age, or stance on ‘signature’ fragrances, “Sixty-nine percent of fragrance owners say they’re motivated to purchase a new fragrance based on samples they’ve tried in a store… Women have to experience a scent to make sure it’s appropriate,” because perfume buyers say that “a fragrance smells different on their skin than it does out of the bottle.”

I wonder who paid for this research?

*Article, “Mintel** Reports Women Want to Smell Like They Feel” Perfumer & Flavorist, Nov. 2, 2010
**Mintel Global New Products Database

Above painting courtesy of Michelangelo: Conversion of Saint Paul, 1545


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