May 28, 2023

The surprising reason perfume prices are skyrocketing

1 min read

The price of premium perfumes recently soared by levels typically never seen for luxury fragrances. But don’t blame rising inflation — the reasons have more to do with consumer behavior in times of stress and uncertainty.

The average retail price for fragrances rose by 15% in 2021 compared to 2020, triple the average 5% increase during the prior two year, according to the latest data from market research firm NPD. “General inflation is not necessarily the story here. We started to see this swell of growth during the pandemic where consumers were willing to trade up to more premium fragrances,” said Larissa Jensen, NPD vice president and beauty industry advisor.

“We theorized that people were looking to treat themselves with little luxuries during these difficult times,” she said. “Scents allow us to escape, even momentarily, and experience a different emotion.” American shoppers are paying more for all kinds of products, like food, furniture, clothes, shoes and cars. Beauty and other self-care purchases are no exception

Fragrance sales have boomed through the pandemic, fueled by robust demand for higher-priced eau de parfums –— perfumes with a higher percentage of fragrance oils that make the scent last longer once applied. Looking at perfumes alone (excluding home scents), sales last year surged 52% over 2020. In the category, fragrances priced over $175 more than doubled in the number of units sold 2021, the report said.