DTC, Newcomers, and Revival Trends Fragrances to Repeat Strong Holiday Sales

DTC, Newcomers, and Revival Trends Set to Help Fragrances Repeat Strong Holiday Sales

The holiday season is about to bring good tidings to the fragrance industry again. 

“Fragrances have always been a staple this time of year, driving consumers to malls and shopping centers to purchase perfume, cologne, and home scents,” says Leah Wisniewski, Analyst in our Consumer segment. In fact, sales in November and December of 2021 contributed to an overall boost of 25% versus 2020, according to Kline’s annual Cosmetics & Toiletries USA report.

While limited-edition scents and festive packaging are important elements that continue to drive consumers to buy fragrance during the holiday months, Wisniewski notes that several new dynamics are emerging this season. Here are the ones on our radar: 

Marketers ramping up digital efforts 

While fragrance marketers have been slower to respond to the shift to online shopping, they’re now embracing e-commerce in a significant way. In addition to promoting its array of products in traditional retail stores, NEST has taken a unique approach to marketing its candles online.  During live virtual shopping events, brand founder Laura Slatkin helps consumers discover their fragrance needs by employing storytelling – describing the notes of each fragrance, helping buyers visualize what they’ll feel when using the scent, and more. 

New players in the game 

Beauty brand Glossier, primarily known for blurring the lines between makeup and skin care, is now adding home fragrance to its permanent product lineup. Inspired by its signature perfume Glossier You, a viral success that debuted in 2017, the brand is bringing back its limited-edition candle from last season for good. With the expansion also comes a new scent, Orange Blossom Neroli; both candles retail for $45 (8 oz). 

Glossier Candles

Glossier Candles

’90s scent trends making a comeback 

With Gen Z coming of age, brands are ushering in nostalgia for long-gone Y2K era trends like low-rise jeans and mini shoulder bags. In addition, vanilla fragrance, which hit peak popularity in the early aughts, is having a renaissance as Gen Z enters the workforce and gains more buying power. Brands are tapping into this revival trend through more sophisticated and upscale formulations – one example is Kayali’s latest fragrance, Vanilla Royale, released on November 16 just in time for the holidays. 

Kayali’s Vanilla Royale

Kayali’s Vanilla Royale

Department stores creating more shelf space for niche brands 

To keep up with consumer interest, department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are shaking things up by adding more niche fragrance brands to their personal fragrance collections in stores. Among the high-end perfume brands that have traditionally occupied the majority of shelf space in these outlets — like Chanel, Versace, and Dior — there are now a greater number of offerings from niche luxury perfume brands like Diptyque and Le Labo and newcomer candle brands like Boy Smells and Apotheke 

We will continue to explore the latest developments and key trends in fragrances through our insightful reports. Home Fragrances USA covers scented candles, diffusers, room sprays, and wax melts/fragrance lamp oils, while Cosmetics & Toiletries USA focuses on fragrances for both women and men among other product categories like skin care, hair care, makeup, and other toiletries. Both, set for publication in 2023, will forecast future market values and consumer demand using Kline’s enhanced predictive analytics tools 


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