‘Tis the season for fragrance gifting… almost. As we head into autumn, the biggest key consumer periods of the year – Black Friday and Christmas – are nearly upon us. During this time, the perfect perfume or aftershave is one of the most popular presents for 72% of British people. But how can brands make sure theirs is the scent that catches gifters’ attention?
It’s set to be another unprecedented holiday season where, if all goes to plan, last year’s lockdowns should no longer be a worry for bricks and mortar retailers. However, there’s still much to be learnt from the 2020 festive period for fragrance brands, enabling them to refine both their in-store and online gifting strategies. Here are a few key areas to look at…
Fewer Sets, More Solutions
As sustainable beauty gains traction, expect to see fewer fragrance gift sets stacked on shelves. The downward curve started a few years ago, with last year showing a 15% drop in the number of sets available from October to December 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019. This year, brands should be looking to stand out with more unique and thoughtful gifting solutions, such as gifts with purchase (GWPs) or free personalisation.
Gifts with Purchase (GWPs)
A shift away from gift sets is leaving room for higher quality gifts with purchase. Over last year’s festive period, we saw a 13% increase in the number of products offered with a gift compared to 2019. We predict this figure will rise in 2021, as fragrance brands take inspiration from the likes of Jo Malone, whose Cyber Monday offer treated fans to three free mini products when they spent £120 online.
Expect more brands to promote presents with purpose, too. In 2020, Giorgio Armani opted for an eco-conscious Black Friday (or Blue Friday, as they called it) by donating 30% from each purchase on their website to the Acqua for Life initiative that funds water projects worldwide. Meanwhile, Diptyque released a limited-time Black Friday edition of their cult-classic Baies candle, with 15% of proceeds going to the World Health Organisation for the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Engraving and Personalisation
As if a weighty, opulent bottle of fragrance wasn’t gift-worthy enough, more and more brands are offering free engraving as an extra personal touch. Le Labo provides personalisation year-round with their custom-printed labels while, last Christmas, Lancôme embellished the bottles and cases of their covetable perfumes and lipsticks. Look out for it to be a big trend for 2021. This final flourish can give fragrance brands the edge over their competitors, turning an already-thoughtful gift into a treasure the giftee will always keep.
A Focus On Deeper Discounting
Year on year, the discounts get deeper and the offer periods get longer. This was certainly the case in 2019, until 2020 disrupted the course of consumer beauty. With supply issues rife due to COVID-19, last year’s discounts were modest across most retailers. However, this looks set to change in 2021, as brand focus moves back from profit to share.
The Competitive Shift
It will be interesting to analyse how recent etailer mergers impact pricing in 2021, with key price competitors, like Fragrance Direct and All Beauty, becoming one. It remains to be seen whether this will result in less competition over price. We may see less of a ‘race to the bottom’ when it comes to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Planning is Key
Last year, online pharmacies and online fragrance stores both had fewer products on sale with a discount, while online department stores were discounting scents more readily. Such category-wide fluctuations indicate the need for careful planning, so brands can avoid cannibalisation across their retail partners.
Deeper discounts can steer shoppers away from gift sets, creating overstock of products that then need to be discounted in January. Keeping a close eye on the data and competitor strategy will help brands succeed in the lucrative run up to Christmas.