Sales of prestige perfumery brands dropped by 0.9% in value in 2015 in France. Photo credit: © Matej Kastelic /

Despite a difficult environment for retail sales in France, the selective perfumery channel maintained a turnover of 2.9 billion euros in 2015. "While in store sales of retailers’ private brands continue to grow, sales of selective products are decreasing by no more than 0.9% in value over the year, according to The NPD Group, despite the impact of terrorist attacks in January and at the end of the year (-1.9% in December),” said the French Federation of Selective Perfumery (FFPS). The decrease of prestige fragrance sales - fragrances account for almost two thirds of the French prestige market - at the end of the year slowed down the overall industry growth. Indeed, the makeup and skin care categories increased in 2015.

Contrasted fragrance sales

According to the FFPS, the decline of perfume sales in 2015 (-1.6% in value) is explained largely by poor figures recorded in November and December, which are the most important months for this product category. The month of January 2015 was also particularly affected.

However, sales of women’s and men’s fragrances did not react the same way in 2015. On the one hand, women’s fragrances have collapsed with a decrease of 2.8%, in value. In this segment, only gift packs grew (+4 7%). On the other hand, sales of men’s fragrances remained almost stable (-0.6%).

In contrast, sales of high-end niche fragrances by independent brands or of the private collections of the main selective brands continue to grow strongly. However, their small market share - which is estimated between 2 and 5% - does not allow this segment to substantially impact the trend.

Good results of skin care and makeup products

Less subject to seasonal variations, sales of skin care products recorded their best progression (+0.6%) over the last two years. Similarly, and despite a difficult month of December (-1.1%), makeup products recorded their best performance since 2013, with an increase of 0.4% in value, boosted by lipsticks that grew by 8.5%.

"Selective perfumery retail chains maintained their turnover in 2015. Retailers have adapted to the changing market by offering consumers a multichannel purchasing experience, by maintaining accessible prices encouraging loyalty. The market was recovering before the November attacks that led to a reduction in visits to the shops during the year’s last two months, which are the most important months of the year," said William G. Koeberlé, President of the FFPS.