SBHD: Diane Miles, marketing manager of Parfums Christian Dior, gives her opinion.
Fragrance is a very fragmented market, with about 2,000 existing brands, up to 80 launches a year, and few discontinuations.
About two-thirds of sales are in the premium sector, and that is the growth end of the market. No more than 20 of the newcomers will survive, and they will need at least three years of high and consistent investment. Tendre Poison was established by heavy sampling through stores and scent strips, and innovative use of colour in magazines, backed up with an entry price below £20, the first time Dior has done this.
We calculate that half of retail sales are made in November and December; 70 per cent of that is gift purchase, a British phenomenon not matched in the rest of the world. Dior offers strong gift presentation at Christmas – with loads of gift wrap, matched carrier bags and coffret sets.
Media clutter before Christmas is a problem. When there are 22 commercials going out in three weeks in one sector, often with similar creative treatments, and page after page in the women’s magazines, then the consumer must get confused. We are always looking for media innovation to help us stand out.
Sampling is very important, both on the counter and thro-ugh scent strips. The challenge is to get away from little glass vials and look at some other method than scent strips and there are some interesting developments coming on line in that area.
Perfume houses have to support their brands throughout the year, through sampling, advertising and PR, and not just in December.