These evolving expectations were driven in particular by younger consumers, especially Generation Z.
“Globally I think there’s a philosophical shift occurring as people reframe their relationship with nature and consumption. Gen Z, in particular, are setting the pace, demanding ethical and sustainable natural ingredients, and taking a stand against plastic waste,” said Guy Vincent, CEO of Australian firm Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils.
Vincent highlighted releases like L’Oréal’s D by Diesel, which are responding to the demand for sustainable ingredients and refillable options. However, he acknowledged there was still a lot of resistance to refillable products within some segments.
In October 2023, Marc Jacobs released Daisy Drops, single-dose fragrance capsules in a tin that you can easily bring and use on the go. This departure from traditional formats reflected consumer environmental concerns.
“Coty is one that disrupted the norm with Marc Jacobs Daisy Drops, creating single-use gel-like capsules in an aluminium tin. This approach echoes what you see in cosmetics packaging and application. Daisy Drops hits on the sustainability concerns of Gen Z by reducing packaging and improving the carbon footprint from shipping.”
At the same time, the product enhanced the overall product experience with innovative packaging and enhanced quality.
“From a product experience perspective, it also hits on the premiumisation trend – giving users a richer scent and a different texture experience which is particularly interesting when you look at the market research around Chinese consumers,” said Vincent.
Moving forward, Vincent expects to see more innovative fragrance formats in the market.
“We’re in a transformative period in terms of how we live and what we choose to buy – we need to create products that have more efficiency in terms of product performance and create positive impacts for our planet and the people who care for it. I think product formats will continue to broaden, offering all sorts of ways to enjoy personal fragrance.”
New formats, new challenges
The introduction of novel formats brings along fresh challenges, particularly in the area of formulation.
“Creating new formulations or forms is challenging in terms of performance and textures. Fragrance performance – strength, longevity and olfactive clarity, is demanded by consumers who are used to traditional hydroalcoholic formulas that are featherweight, almost, if not completely, clear and evaporate relatively quickly liberating all the smell wonders perfumers deliver,” Vincent explained.
“New forms cannot be sticky, leave residue or oil, distort the fragrance profile, or evaporate too quickly. This is hard to do. Perfumer involvement is paramount in new formula development as they can adjust formulas – within reason – to suit the altered chemistry of the new form.”
At the same time, perfumers will also have to meet the shifting expectations of consumers, like the current interest in alcohol-free formulations.
Vincent underscored the growing significance of fragrances having supplementary benefits.
“I think ingredients will be central to this. Sustainably and ethically sourced natural botanicals like Australian sandalwood can deliver on performance and what perfumes truly mean to consumers.”
For instance, Australian sandalwood (S.spicatum), has fixative effects that slow down evaporation of highly volatile ingredients and binding olfactive notes for a more enhanced perfume experience.
Additionally, the calming and grounding nature of sandalwood is valued for its ability to promote relaxation and a sense of well-being.
Vincent concluded: “Spicatum oil offers scent, calms the mind, soothes the skin and lends fixative effects that are beneficial when formulating waterless and alcohol-free products. It can also create life-changing benefits to the people and lands where they’re sourced from. It’s no longer a story of minimising harm, it’s about maximising benefit.”