2021 . 07 . 23 | written by Karen Marin

Add to my selection

As part of the Esxence on Air program, the webinar entitled Artistic Perfumery in the Digital World continued the observation of web searches and online conversations begun in the previous analysis “Whispers about Artistic Perfumery” (2018-2019) presented at Esxence in 2019. The study was sponsored by the Essencional Study Center in collaboration with the Develon Group, and the panel members came from both organizations.


This year’s study was presented by Alice Rizzetto of Develon. She started with an explanation of three big numbers that stood out in the analysis which referred to web conversations and searches. The study investigated 186K conversations about artistic perfumery, specific brands and Esxence in the Italian and English languages, of which, 55% of the conversations pertained to artistic perfumery in general. She then mentioned there were over 5M monthly searches about artistic perfumery (all topics and all brands), which is almost a 40% increase over the prior study. Since worldwide lockdowns were imposed by the pandemic, it is clear that people had more time to spend online, to do research, to be online, to discover. In fact, it was reported that interest in artistic perfumery grew exponentially in Nigeria, India and Canada: countries that hadn’t been much on the radar in the past, but clearly rich in future business opportunities.


Diving into Google searches, Ms Rizzetto pointed out that searches for information and advice have increased by almost 200%. Three main trends were observed: 1) a big increase in searches related to the production process, how to produce perfume, how is it made, even curiosity about the creation process, 2) searches related to “the best”: the best fragrance for women, the best natural, the best unisex, etc, and lastly 3) 45k monthly searches on how to use fragrance: how to wear it, how to apply it, where to spray it. In addition, people are going online looking for help in finding a fragrance. Searches for quizzes, tests and advice on how to find a fragrance grew +911%, indicating this is a trend to get behind now and for years to come. In fact later in the discussion I pointed out that many brand and retailer sites developed online diagnostics to help with the search process. There was also the quiet launch of Wikiparfum (an online site that recommends alternatives to the fragrance searched for) and other tools that can help the consumer in their search for the right fragrance.


In terms of the classification of the segment, a variety of words are used including luxury, original, artisan, niche, and artistic. Ms Rizzetto suggested that what the industry calls the product is less important than the words the consumer uses, while Marco Ricchetti, economic advisor to Essencional commented that “This is an advantage because you have a number of value positions to give to the customer: you are artisan, you are an exclusive producer, you are a creator, innovator and artist – but sooner or later you have to define the identity of this segment.” The need to clarify the identity of the segment was remarked on by all participants who agreed there is significant work to be done in this direction.


Per the study, people are still looking for products by specific gender, although the searches for the term unisex grew by +340%. The actual number of searches is quite small (less than 1% of the total) but it indicates a trend that could take off in the future. When sharing my observations I pointed out that most shops are still merchandising by men’s or women’s, both in-store and online. Some shops merchandise by brand, but this is more of an exception, not common in department stores or large perfumeries.


To wrap up the study, Ms Rizzetto commented on a few diverse topics starting with the exponential increase in searches for home fragrances. This trend is in line with what happened on a worldwide basis as people sought to make their home environments more cosy and comforting. Another hot topic was sustainability called out by the increase in searches for information about raw materials as well as word searches for the terms sustainable, eco-conscious, organic, and vegan. Searches for perfumery schools or courses about perfumery grew in interest as well, reinforcing the assumption that people want to learn more whether for personal or professional reasons. To conclude, the study recognized a surge in searches for the term anosmia, especially in the February – March 2020 period when the condition was recognized as a symptom of COVID-19. As Silvio Levi, founder of Essencional and Co-founder of Esxence observed, thanks to the pandemic and anosmia, there is a newfound awareness of the true value of the sense of smell and taste, little appreciated until they are lost.

Click below to watch the entire webinar:

Photo credits:

"Beautiful young woman spraying perfume over herself" by Damir Spanic

"Woman holding an iphone" by