Scent-Sational Laundry

In 2012, cleaning products, including laundry detergent, accounted for more than 25 percent of fragrance blend demand, reports The Freedonia Group, Cleveland, Ohio, in its August “Flavors & Fragrances” report. Laundry detergents are expected to experience above-average growth through 2017, benefitting from growth in areas such as encapsulated products used to maintain fragrances on laundered items, as well as laundry scent boosters, the report continues.

“Fragrance is one of the top three purchase drivers in laundry and household products, so it is critical to make the right fragrance connections,” states Lori Miller Burns, director of marketing for Marietta, Ga.-based Arylessence.

Trends with traction

Consumers continue to love options, especially when it comes to picking a scented product. It is imperative that retailers understand this particular consumer desire for variety, Miller Burns says. For example, the leading national brand laundry detergent has 16 fragrance types for consumers to choose from. Not only do consumers want options, but they also want their expectations to be exceeded; only then will the store brand become their brand of choice, she adds.

“The notion of personalizing fragrance has been a significant trend,” states Melissa Pantel-Ku, analyst for The Freedonia Group, “with interactive media allowing users to create their signature scents. The recent introduction of laundry ‘scent-boosting’ products that can enhance or complement a detergent’s scent reflects this trend.”

Currently, popular fragrance categories include floral, fruit, fruity-floral and herbal. Within those categories, tropical fruits, cotton/linen and even apple scents have done very well and are expected to continue to do well, Miller Burns says.

Trends on the horizon

“The real opportunity for private label laundry marketers is to develop creative fragrances that have their own identity, personality and sensory appeal,” Miller Burns says.

There is no point in trying to clone the national brand, she adds. Instead, retailers should build their own laundry detergent brands to reflect the values of their customers and their stores. Doing so will help retailers create a more competitive brand that is more likely to appeal to their consumers.

Retailers could then create a range of fragrances, based on those same store and customer values, to maximize exposure and shelf space, or they could create a signature fragrance that could then be evolved for dish soap, cleaners and other products, Miller Burns states.

If retailers are interested in coordinating fragrances across products, simpler fragrances such as those inspired by nature (think lavender or pine) will be preferred by consumers, Pantel-Ku states. Heavier or more complex fragrances can be overwhelming if they are found in multiple products throughout the home, she adds.

In the years to come, laundry care will become even more personal, with products designed for specific groups of people. The market already boasts specialty “sports” laundry products with a distinctive sensory personality, Miller Burns says, but the near future also could bring laundry care products with fragrances developed for fashonistas, yoga and meditation lovers, business travelers, and more.

“Matching fragrances with individual personality types and aligning the positioning of the laundry product with that personality is a very valid strategy that will capture laundry consumers’ attention,” Miller Burns says.