Once the preserve of Britain’s ladies, it now looks like Britain’s men will be hoping to catch a whiff of celebrity this Christmas as new research from Mintel finds that men are increasingly dabbing into the celebrity perfume market. Today, some 6% of Britain’s men own a celebrity fragrance, compared to 16% of women. But male interest in these fragrances is growing. Back in 2007, less than 2% of the adult male population owned a celebrity fragrance. Today, this has risen to as many as one in twenty males.

A massive three quarters of British men receive as gift a fragrance at Christmas and it is Britain’s dads (and in particular those with children under five) who are the most likely to own a celebrity scent, as Mintel finds as many as (13%) of these men are celebrity fragrance owners.

Vivienne Rudd, Senior European Beauty Analyst, at Mintel, said:

“Men are aware of the ability of scent to boost self-image and enhance confidence – an important factor when job security and rising unemployment are issues – and the increase of interest in male celebrity fragrances is reflective of this and the current marketplace. The UK’s obsession with celebrity makes the country fertile ground for celebrity fragrance. Other countries watch with amazement the parade of fragrances from people who would rarely be regarded as celebrities outside the pages of the UK tabloids and online gossip sites. “

In spite of the financial crisis, the men’s fragrance market has continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace. Last year Britain’s men sprayed £388 million worth of the stuff and by the end of this year, sales of men’s fragrances are set to reach almost £400 million. Over the past five years the market for men’s fragrances will have grown a sweet 18%, with sales increasing from £327 million in 2005 to £397 million in 2010. Indeed, despite difficult economic circumstances, it seems men have continued to use fragrance – clearly important to image-conscious men as over six in ten male fragrance users claim to look after their appearance. An average of three in ten men buy fragrance for themselves, with this figure rising to over four in ten of the 25-34s.

And it seems Britain’s men are only beaten by their Italian counterparts in their desire to buy celebrity fragrances. Indeed, compared with the big five European countries, 8% of Italian men own celebrity fragrance – compared with 6% in Spain and just 4% in France and Germany. But it seems the shopping habits of British men are very different to their European neighbours – with the majority of Italian (74%), Spanish (70%), French (66%) and German (55%) men purchasing their fragrance at a perfumery – just 25% of British men say they do this. Instead it is the trusted department store where the majority (38%) of British men purchase.

And it seems Italian men are also the most eager to please their partners – as over 22% of Italian men say they wear a fragrance they know their partner likes – closely followed by Spanish men (21%), German men (20%) and French men (19%) – leaving British men trailing behind with 18%. But British men lead the way in the amount of fragrances they own. Indeed, 6% of men in Britain own between 6 and 10 bottles – compared with 4% in Germany and Italy and 3% in France and Spain.

But shopping in person does not suit everyone and the Internet is changing the way men shop for fragrance – with almost one in five (18%) men purchasing fragrances online. This figure rises to 23% of men aged 35-44. Buying fragrance online also appeals more to men than to women, with only 13% of women buying over the Internet.

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