Trends and Opportunities in 2024: an Omen for Original Olfactory Research

2024 . 01 . 18 | written by Silvio Levi

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The year 2023 was certainly an exceptional year for the events and trends that characterized it. Regarding our industry in particular, Karen Marin's article "The Niche/Artistic Fragrance Journey: Highlights of 2023 and Thoughts for 2024" does a rather thorough and comprehensive analysis and highlights for us the aspects to keep monitored during the year we are beginning.

One question arises for me from reading it, which is whether the major changes that the many M&As will bring will not limit the opportunities of brands, whether new entries or existing brands still in the development phase, that are characterized by great innovativeness and risk-taking propensity to come up with possible new trends that are decidedly far from the currently market-leading themes, even in artistic perfumery.

The growth in the turnovers of many independent brands that have become important references for artistic perfumery over time and are now being acquired by large investors or multinationals, if based fundamentally on a limited number of fragrances in the portfolio, risks tying the identity of the brands to the best sellers alone, which are increasingly promoted and communicated, and making the other wonderful and unique creations that in their varied complex are an expression of the creativity and innovativeness of the brands themselves, less and less offered.

The tendency to choose fragrances that are not widely distributed, very close to one's own personality and style that we have witnessed with much pleasure even under the pandemic, is likely to remain unfulfilled by these brands while the possibility of debutant or minor brands to be supported by a network of independent retailers capable of running a business based on a large number of very original slow movers seems to me to be progressively diminishing. The return to brick-and-mortar is certainly positive, but, as Karen points out, it manifests itself in an exponential growth of single-brand stores rather than in a harmonious and overall growth of multi-brand specialty stores.

As I often write, I believe that the innovative creations, which for decades the artistic perfumery has offered, have been extremely positive research and development that has always benefited the mainstream, which has been able to invest in new trends that had passed the test of the niche consumer by reducing the potential risk of launching certain fragrances new to the mass-tige consumer.

This is why 2024 will be a great test case to see that acquisitions will not lead to a reduction in courage to come up with unexpected new creations and that the spaces guaranteed to independent and highly original brands will not be drastically reduced in department stores and multi-brand stores. Let us hope that the new players with robust financial potential will not only seek immediate commercial success, but also support their niche brands' pursuit of quality and originality while always maintaining their own vital and coherent activities.