Trending fragrances in personal care: what do consumers want?

We picked ten trending shower gel fragrances and determined the five most favourable current choices for UK consumer. Out of the five, coconut stood out as a distinct preference by attracting over 35% of respondents, who made it their exclusive choice.

Scent innovation is key in shower gel new product development. Bath products are relatively affordable, which encourages consumers to make impulse decisions when shopping for them. This means experimentation is high in the segment, with manufacturers and retailers competing to come up with interesting fragrances by using various sources of inspiration, including cocktails, desserts, and upscale perfumery.

The changing consumer preferences in shower gel also reflect factors such as trends in other personal care segments and seasonality. We researched recent product launches to establish ten currently trending fragrances and asked consumers whether they would buy shower gels featuring them. The result is summarised in the graph below:

Coconut and grapefruit scored highest, with over 80% of the panel responding positively, closely followed by mint & lemon, a fresh scent, featured in the most recent launch by Lynx, named Ice Chill.

Argan oil and lavender are the next two options in terms of popularity, both related to perceived functional benefits, i.e. healthy skin and relaxation respectively.

Interestingly, foodie scents, such as marshmallow, mojito and doughnut could not make it to our top five, suggesting that consumers are currently not strongly prioritising food-based indulgence when shopping for shower gel.

Perhaps not surprisingly, tomato was last with only 25% of the panel responding positively to it, although its popularity in other cosmetics items, such as face masks, is on the rise.

The next step in our research was to establish which option consumers would pick if they only have to choose one. We used a steer to ask the panel for a single preference out of the top five above. 524 consumers were shown three options at a time until all combinations have been shown, and the results below show the exclusive preferences made (i.e. where the consumer chose the same option every time it was offered):

Our clear winner was coconut, a relaxing beach fragrance that appeals to both men and women, currently enjoying high popularity in skin and hair care. Mint & lemon moved up to second position, which highlights that with weather warming up consumers will increasingly look for “cooling” scents in shower gels. 

Much more insight could be obtained by using a combination of steers to discover preferences by gender, as well as reactions to packaging design and pricing when developing new shower gel options.

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