Men’s and Women’s Fragrances, What Consumers are Saying

After careful analysis of the current state of men’s and women’s fragrances in the market, it is clearer that while the popularity of certain brands has only increased within the last five years, the opinions have been polarizing.

From a deep study of over 24,000 reviews of 15 fragrance products from 11 recognizable brands, our team was able to find the general shift in audience reviews towards certain brands over others. The reviews were submitted from January 2010 to August 2020.

Within the review sources, primarily Sephora and Fragrantica, Sephora saw more seasonal fluctuations in review submission while Fragrantica seemed consistently steady.

At the core, we see that within women’s fragrances, Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium brand has outperformed any other women fragrance in the last five years with major spikes in October of 2015 and 2018.

While brands like Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille, and Pacco Rabanne stayed behind in audience sentiment of their perfumes, Chanel’s Chance and Coco perfumes performed well amongst consumers with an approximate .42 and .38 in consumer sentiment scores respectively. (Yogi’s proprietary sentiment analysis algorithms scores overall tone of each review from a range of -1.0 to 1.0 (≥0.3 = positive, 0 = neutral, ≤-0.3 = negative)

Despite Chanel’s good response amongst women’s fragrance competitors, Black Opium proved to have the highest sentiment value with an approximate .51 score.

Yogi’s NLP-powered quickly identified “Longevity of the scent,” “Buyer’s Journey,” and “Packaging” as some of the main topics of conversation within Black Opium’s reviews data, hinting at why consumers gravitate towards their fragrance.

However, diving deeper we’re able to see that Black Opium’s positive sentiment may be somewhat artificial.

One review stated, for example, “After receiving a sample from Sephora in the past year… I was INSTANTLY HOOKED!! I rarely change my perfume due to the prices, however… a sample of Black Opium changed my mind & life!! ❤”

“The longevity and sillage are good for the lucky girls whose chemistry works well with this beauty.” – Florence27, said this about Good girl EDP.

It is clear that what matters more so to customers and users is both longevity and packaging, and also the sampling. But clearly, there was more to this than just a large pool of positive reviews from sampling.

Black Opium’s high response and positive feedback certainly outnumber all other perfumes. But how?

We noticed that, at the core, this wasn’t an organic audience response. Rather, it was clear that L’Oréal made a concerted effort to gather more reviews in return for free samples from Sephora of the Black Opium brand.

This was clear, especially when noticing that 71% of these reviews or nearly 4,000 reviews came in within two five-week spans in 2015 and 2018. The marketing deal made by the two style companies has allowed Black Opium to garner so much support.

But while inorganic audience review strategies helped garner more positive reviews for some leading brands, the data shows that there is generally significant polarization amongst the reviews for each brand.

Most of the brands suffer a standard deviation in the range of .34 to .39 for most brands, including Black Opium which faces an approximate standard deviation of .36.

This can be due to a few reasons –

  • Firstly, while the vast collection of reviews allows for the possibility of generally positive sentiment for the specific brand, as it does for Black Opium, it also means that there is the possibility of more extreme opinions and viewpoints. Thus, it results in higher standard deviations and polarization.
  • Also, this can be due to the possibility that because sentiment analysis doesn’t merely provide a 5-star rating but the option to provide a more detailed response. As a result, consumers can give more specific and thus subjective experiences that are varied.
  • Last, it may be pointing to the market at a larger scale for women’s fragrances. While we see Black Opium leading the pack, the vast options and ever-growing range of brands expanding tell us that polarization amongst individual brands is highly possible and it may continue to occur.

In fact, according to Technavio’s recent report, the global luxury perfume market from 2020-2024 will see a 4% increase in market acceleration and saw a 3.50% increase in 2020. It stated that the market is clearly “fragmented” with multiple brands and players competing for shares in the market.

This clearly points to the potential polarization in views amongst the leading brands as competition increases and the market expands to more customer reviews and responses.

On the other end, men’s and unisex fragrance review volume was much lower. In fact, according to our analysis, only two of the nine products studied saw positive sentiment, crossing the .3 marker, while the average sentiment score amongst these brands was .25.

Mont Blanc performed the highest in sentiment value.

While Sauvage EDT had a low average sentiment value of .22, it was amongst the top five best selling brands. The reasoning behind this could be the higher sentiment value in the second and third quarters of 2020.

Generally, we see the unisex and men’s fragrance brands well-behind in progress, strategy, and positive sentiment in comparison to women brands.

As a whole, the analysis points to the dominance of certain brands within the women’s fragrance market, while the increasing polarity amongst the reviews due to the potential expansion and growth in the market at consumer and competitive levels.

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