“The pandemic has put the spotlight on anosmia and raised global awareness about the importance of olfaction in our lives. As a consequence, this led to a growing interest in perfumery; not only in a more in-depth knowledge of perfumes but also in the impact the sense of smell has on our well-being and psychological balance", explained Isabelle Ferrand, CEO of Cinquième Sens in Paris, France.
Need for better knowledge
This trend had emerged before the outbreak of the pandemic, but it has been reinforced and accelerated with the different lockdowns.
“On the one hand, people have realized the importance of fragrances and want to occupy their free time and learn different things from home. With the pandemic, many people want to do what they never gave themselves the opportunity to do, make their dreams come true and one of these dreams may be to learn more about perfumery. On the other hand, there are the entrepreneurs. People who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and want to start a business in perfumes, soaps or candles,” said Ana María Páez Saldarriaga, director of Atelier Olfativo, Cinquième Sens’ franchisee in Colombia.
“We are finding a fascinating mix between individuals and professional interest. We have individuals who never thought a perfumery training could be available to them based on where they live (i.e. far from the USA perfumery centers of New York and California) so Zoom is giving them new access. Also people who were too crazy at work to invest time to physically go to training now can join us for short snippets since they are working from home and have more flexibility,” confirmed Tami Katz, from U.S. fragrance consulting firm Serendipitee.
"Since the pandemic, there is an increase in individuals who seek help launching a natural perfume brand because they want to change their career and do something they love," observed Samantha Taylor from Australia’s The Powder Room.
“A booming momentum for olfaction is happening right now,” added Alessandra Tucci, founder of Paralela Escola Olfativa, in São Paulo, Brazil.
Search for well-being
“Loss of the sense of smell, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic also revived the discussions around scents for wellbeing and emotional comfort,” noted perfumery expert Rajiv Sheth, Founder and CEO of All Good Scents, in India.
“We are witnessing a real breakthrough in the relationship to perfume. Previously, people were using perfumes in order to be more attractive. Now, the perfume experience is becoming more complex and increasingly involves a search for personal well-being,” added Isabelle Ferrand.
In many markets, people are increasingly interested in knowing more about the link between the sense of smell and their emotions. "Aromachology is on the rise, we have more and more requests for training on the effect of odours on well-being and health," said Isabelle Ferrand.
For Ana María Páez Saldarriaga, a lot of perfumery concepts currently emerging in Colombia are linked to emotions (joy, energy, calm, etc.), with some of them inviting to the escapism (one of the hottest desires of the moment).
Home fragrance boom
Product wise, the quest for wellbeing and positive emotions is leading to an increase in the demand for home fragrances, according to Rajiv Sheth.
In Colombia, “there is a surge new local brands of scented candles, sometimes with air purifying claims,” observed Ana María Páez Saldarriaga.
At Cinquième Sens in Paris, the creation of fragrances for candles is indeed the business which is currently recording the fastest growth.
In order to address the rise of the demand for perfume education, Cinquième Sens and its franchisees - in 14 countries on all continents - are constantly adapting their training offers to changing demands.
For instance, a programme dedicated to home fragrances had been set up even before the acceleration of the demand, in the wake of the pandemic, and a module devoted to sustainable development in the perfume sector (covering regulatory and technical aspects specific to perfumes) is currently under preparation.