Taking Fragrant Matters Into Their Own Hands

Why wait around for some lug to buy you perfume when you can buy it yourself? A survey by The NPD Group finds women acting on that principle. Among those who use fragrances, 49 percent have purchased three or more bottles for themselves within the past year. Likewise, the boom in sales of perfume gift sets is due largely to women buying these as gifts for themselves. (“Oh, I shouldn’t have!”) Thanks to all this avid buying, “most women who wear fragrance own six bottles of scent or more.” NPD says sales of “prestige fragrances” increased 7 percent in the first half of 2000 versus the same period last year. In a category that’s crowded with brands, the study finds big names are increasingly important. In all, 63 percent of fragrance users admitted that designer and celebrity names influence their brand decisions. That was more true of women age 15-34 than their elders, who remain “more loyal to classic scents.” At the same time, younger women are more open to private-label goods sold at specialty shops. Indeed, the report says those places have surpassed the lower-tier department stores as a retail channel for fragrances.The Image Bank