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Freshness Eludes Celebrity Scents

By Marcy Magiera

Despite a small rush of celebrity-licensed fragrances introduced to retail in the late summer and fall, the category still smells off, with marketers Elizabeth Arden, Coty and Parlux all reporting recent sales declines as a result of soft demand for mass market scents.

Elizabeth Arden reported earlier this month that sales for its fiscal second quarter, ended Dec. 31, fell 5.2%. While sales of Elizabeth Arden branded products increased, sales of non-Arden brands, which include designer and celebrity fragrances, were off 4% on an adjusted basis. With designer brands, including John Varvatos and Juicy Couture, posting 7% growth in the first half, that means celeb fragrances fell off pretty steeply to get to a net 4% decline. Not good news for Arden celebrity properties Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.

The story was similar at Coty, where sales for the quarter ending Dec. 31 were off 4%, and even worse at Parlux Brands parent Perfumania Holdings, which reported sales down 22% for the quarter ended Oct. 31, the most recent financial data available. Not good news for Paris Hilton, Pitbull, Rihanna and Sofia Vergara, all of whom introduced new licensed fragrances through Parlux last year.

“While our fragrance portfolio has been impacted by the decline in consumer interest in celebrity fragrances, we intend to shift our fragrance offering mix from a celebrity-centric offering to a more designer-based fragrance and brand portfolio,” Perfumania President-CEO Michale Katz said in a statement. “Designer and heritage fragrances tend to be higher-end and stay in fashion longer because there is a more direct link between them and a fragrance, as well as a consistency with the brand’s other offerings such as clothes and accessories, leading to greater overall credibility with consumers.”

Not all celebrity fragrance licenses are suffering, however. Katz made a point of noting his company’s success with the Jessica Simpson line, and Luxe Brands just brought to market a second Ariana Grande fragrance less than six months after her first. Elizabeth Arden this year has invested in new fragrances from Britney Spears and Elizabeth Taylor, which it counts among its heritage, rather than celebrity, offerings.

Coty’s NYC New York Color brand, meanwhile, just introduced a licensed makeup line from Demi Lovato called Lovatics. Makeup drove beauty products growth in 2015, according to The NPD Group, outperforming fragrance and skincare in both the prestige and mass markets.

New Celebrity Licensed Fragrances, 2016
Ariana Grande Frankie January 2016 (Limited Ed.) Luxe Brands
Britney Spears Maui Fantasy January 2016 (Limited Ed.) Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds Night January 2016 Elizabeth Arden
David Beckham Aqua Classic January 2016 Coty
Sarah Jessica Parker SJP NYC January 2016 (relaunch) Coty
Sheer Lovely January 2016 (relaunch) Coty
Michael Buble TBD June 2016 Fragrance Dynamics


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