Which scents sell air fresheners?

In general, consumers tend to make relatively traditional choices in air freshener fragrances. However, preferences often have a seasonal angle, which could inspire scent innovation in the segment. Air fresheners are often grouped in fragrance families, most popular of which are linen, floral, fruity, gourmet, outdoor and tropical. High end perfumery could also influence some more upscale offerings.

We selected ten popular room fragrances and asked consumers whether they would buy air fresheners featuring them. The result is summarised in the graph below:

Spring and cherry blossom scored highest, with over 80% of the panel responding positively. Both options are floral fragrances, clearly associated with the spring season. They are followed by vanilla, a classic gourmand scent, relevant in every season.

Orange & grapefruit comes next in terms of popularity, associated with invigorating properties and the summer season, whereas the lavender option, mostly perceived as relaxing, scored much lower with 70%.

Coconut, which is trending in new air freshener launches, was not able to make it to our top five. Influenced by high popularity in personal care, the ultimate beach fragrance is touted as a future winner in the segment, but its popularity has not yet reached the level of more established fragrances of air freshener.

The next step in our research was to establish which option consumers would pick if they can only choose one. We used a steer to ask the panel for a single preference out of the top five above:

Our clear winner was Spring, with almost 27% of consumers exclusively choosing it over the other alternatives. Orange & grapefruit, featured by Air Wick’s Energising aerosol, moved up to second position, which highlights that fragrances associated with summer are taking over.

Beyond determining the top fragrance of the season, air freshener brands should strive to meet the unique needs of consumers. A combination of steers could be used to discover location-specific preferences, for example, given that many would opt for specific scents for each unique area of the home.

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