future seems bright—but it’s low digital IQ ranking shows how in-the-dark a
category can be.

That was the
consensus from The Fragrance Foundation’s annual State of the Industry luncheon,
held Thursday afternoon at The Harvard Club of New York. Newly-tapped
president, Elizabeth Musmanno, addressed the crowd of fragrance’s who’s who,
and welcomed several guest speakers, including Kline & Co.’s Carrie Mellage,
who estimated fragrance will end 2012 with a 4.5% to 5% increase in sales, pushed
by sales of Coty’s Lady Gaga’s Fame and Chanel’s Coco Noir in the celebrity and
designer sectors, respectively. Carrie cited stellar sales from 2011’s Justin Bieber’s
Someday and Taylor Swift’s Enchanted as also generating sales in 2012, a year
where fragrance growth exceeded the personal care industry average for the
second time in a decade. Fragrance sales grew 6% in 2011, Carrie reminded. As
for predicting how Holiday will fare, Kline executed a poll within the
fragrance industry, and revealed that 77% of respondents predict sales will be
the same or better than last year.

Speaker Wade Gerten, founder and CEO of 8th
Bridge, talked about the next generation of sharing on social media, and how
the ubiquitous “like” button is now being expanded to “need” “obsessed” and
“own” buttons in a test on 25 brands on Facebook.

Touching a
nerve and sparking more than a few “ahas” from the crowd were insights shared
by L2 Think Tank founder, Scott Galloway. Some of the takeaways from Scott’s
presentation include the reason why people shop online, which is to avoid the
sales associate, with 46% of shoppers preferring e-tailing, prompting brands to
rethink their budget allocations. Scott’s data also revealed that Victoria’s
Secret, Burberry and Ralph Lauren rank “genius” in their social media
strategies, while the digital footprint of the fragrance category, particularly
licensed brands, is weak and uninspired.