The fragrance category was the star of the U.S. prestige beauty industry in 2021. Revenue growth outperformed all other beauty categories and, for the first time, fragrance sales reached parity with skincare, according to U.S. retail sales data from The NPD Group.

Average retail price rose by 15%

In 2021, US Consumers indulge themselves with fragrances in stronger concentrations and higher-priced luxury brands. As a consequence, the average retail price for fragrances rose by 15% in 2021, versus 2020, after averaging a 5% increase during the two years prior. Both men’s and women’s fragrances added nearly USD 10 more per product, on average, in 2021.

According to NPD, fragrance higher average prices are mainly due to a shift toward the purchase of eaux de parfum (EDPs) and parfums, which have a higher percentage of fragrance oils and last longer once applied. This was at the expense of cologne, eau de toilette (EDT), and other products with lower concentrations of fragrance oils.

A shift toward luxury brands

Premium luxury brands and private designer collections also command higher price-points and experienced market share gains in 2021. Fragrance juices priced over USD 175 more than doubled in unit sales for the year.

By purchasing fragrances, consumers can find a pocket of luxury that brings them joy and is a welcome addition to their wellness rituals,” said Larissa Jensen, beauty industry advisor at NPD. “Given their willingness to trade up to more premium fragrances, consumers are exhibiting the high value they place on this olfactive category.