In case you missed it, fragrance emerged as the star category in prestige beauty in 2021.

Fragrance revenue growth outperformed all other beauty categories, and, for the first time, sales reached parity with skin care. During the 12 months fragrance sales saw a 49 percent jump versus 2020 as consumers looked to treat themselves. Sales of perfumes, colognes, and other fragrance juices increased by 61 percent, year over year, as sales of candles, reed diffusers, and other home scents grew by more than 20 percent. The fourth quarter accounted for 45 percent of fragrance category sales revenue in 2021, growing by 35 percent during the critical holiday selling season.

The average retail price for fragrances rose by 15 percent in 2021, versus 2020, after averaging a 5 percent increase during the two years prior, according to U.S. retail sales data from The NPD Group. Both men’s and women’s fragrances added nearly $10 more per product, on average, in 2021.

Higher fragrance prices are mainly due to a shift toward the purchase of eau de parfums (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.

Premium luxury brands and private designer collections also commanded higher price-points and experienced market share gains in 2021. Fragrance juices priced over $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.”