How the pandemic has shifted fragrance trends forever

A spritz of scent is a powerful thing – fragrance is now so entwined into our beauty regimens that it’s hard to imagine a day going by without it.

However, with the current pandemic, fragrance trends have seen a shift that is predicted to reshape the fragrance industry forever – from the way fragrances are sold and marketed, to what kind of NPD appeals to customers.

And while some trends have accelerated or are completely brand new, others have diminished or have been cast aside due to the current climate.

In light of these changes, BD recently sat down with Goldfield & Banks founder, Dimitri Weber, and asked him to spill the beans on the latest and greatest fragrance trends.


“I believe that with the current situation where we spend more time at home, fresh fragrances will be the trend,” Weber told BD.

Finger lime, for instance, is renowned in the food industry, but it has now made a jump to beauty, thanks to Goldfield & Banks. After learning of this particular citrus, Weber immediately did his research and discovered all the different aspects of it.

"The lime is originally from the Byron Bay region, which is one of my favourite regions and I immediately saw the potential of adding the native to my perfume collection," he said. "The essence offers a new innovative note to the perfume industry so far unknown."

And according to Cosmetics Business, the fragrance market has already started to see a crop of other fresh scents launch this year, with a particular focus on green notes.

Try: Ralph Lauren Polo Blue, David Beckham The Essence, L’OCCITANE Citrus Verbena Fresh Body MilkLess is More Green Magic Organic Cologne and Cacharel Scarlett EDT Spray.

Natural and sustainable

This links to another trend predicted to grow even further post COVID. CPL Aromas marketing manager, Elsa Rahal, told Cosmetics Business that she sees “more and more developments taking a ‘natural’ direction.”

This is because during the pandemic, consumers have witnessed humans’ impact on the environment, and have noticed a decrease in pollution, waste and car circulation. Now, sustainability is set to continue as a trend and NPD will see green and natural olfactory directions, with scents such as tea, pine and thyme.

Packaging will also become more sustainable, as people move to stand against excess packaging that wastes the Earth’s resources.

Try: LUSH Dirty Solid Perfume, The Body Shop For Kistna Eau De Toilette, Glow Lab Body Lotion and Sukin Naturals Moisture Rich Body Crème.


Native ingredients in perfumes with a therapeutic effect will also appear on the market, according to Weber. This comes as no surprise, as right now we are looking more to pamper ourselves with scents that have a direct effect on our mood.

Fragrances made with extracts of plants, shrubs or flowers have been known to send messages to the area of the brain that controls mood. Research has proven that although these scents are not a cure for conditions such as anxiety and depression, botanical scents are great for helping the brain unwind, relax and feel uplifted.

Try: Saya Skincare Lime + Bergamot Hand Wash, Sukin Naturals Botanical Body Wash, Natio Spa Nourishing Botanical Body Oil and Essano Adore Rosehip Oil Body Wash

Multi-functional fragrances

Tying into the above, multi-functional fragrances have been gaining traction, as they are formulated to help boost or improve mood or physical wellbeing. Some experts also believe such scents can deliver relaxing, de-stressing, energising, soothing and invigorating benefits. On top of that, many people are actively seeking fragrances that boost immunity in efforts to future-proof themselves against COVID-19 and other diseases.

Further, the development of wellness and self-care trends throughout beauty and fragrance has delivered a renewed focus on these benefits. 

“Today, consumers want more,” Eurofragance CEO, Laurent Mercier, told Cosmetics Business. “Each product must answer to a clear need at a specific time. Perfumes have always been about seduction, but now consumers want to take it further. Trends such as aromatherapy and aromachology are revolutionising fragrances and in all categories. Today, products provide a more holistic vision, with some brands even claiming benefits for their fragrances and ingredients.”

Try: Weleda Pine Reviving Bath Milk, Absolute Essential Life Lift, L’OCCITANE Verbena Foaming Bath and Raww Pep Up Mood Mist

Home fragrance

While prestige fragrance sales have declined by up to a third or more across Europe, home fragrance has understandably thrived over the past few months. It scored growth of three per cent in the UK and 11% in Germany between January and May 2020, according to a report by the NPD Group.

Weber revealed that scented candles in particular have “proven to be very in demand during these times where we spend more time at home and love to have our homes smelling great.” Consumers have relied on products such as candles, diffusers, essential oils and room sprays to create their own ‘zone,’ a sort of wellness territory where they can relax and find comfort in order to feel safe and happy.

And with many consumers still expressing reservations about returning to pre-pandemic habits, and with some companies even deciding to implement permanent working from home options, experts believe the home fragrance trend is here to stay. In turn, it is also ripe for further development when it comes to new kinds of product innovation.

Try: ECOYA Kitchen Collection Fragranced Maisy Jar CandleMOR Emporium Classics Wild Sage Reed Diffuser, Glasshouse Fragrances A Moment in Tokyo - Smoked Petals Soy Candle and Circa Home 1983 Coconut & Watermelon Fragrance Diffuser

Notes for a new world

It has long been known that fragrance tends to reflect the mood of a particular time period.

Jean Patou’s 1930 fragrance Joy (with an intense floral composition), for instance, was designed for Patou’s clients who could no longer afford his haute couture clothes during the Great Depression. Meanwhile, Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps (with a light, happy and hopeful scent) represented the peace that came after World War II.

Both were a tremendous success. And today, they are still known as two of the world’s greatest fragrances – born from two of the most significant events in history.

Similarly, the current global crisis is predicted to inevitably shape the scents to come – from the types of olfactory notes that are used, to the packaging and more.

“I anticipate a desire for cleanliness from the consumer, one that will come from cologne constructions and ideas,” Perfume and beauty research and consulting specialist ROSAE founder, Olivier Aron, told Cosmetics Business. "So there may be an opportunity for a new fresh trend along the lines of O de Lancôme and Eau de Rochas. A bright and clean unisex cologne may work very well.”

Try: Hermés Eau de Gentiane Blanche, Nautica Voyage Heritage Eau de Toilette Spray, Palmer's Foaming Body Wash and Diesel Only The Brave

Trends set to disappear

Finally, it’s important to recognise that just as new fragrance trends appear or shift, many have taken a backseat or have been cast aside due to the current COVID-19 climate – but that doesn’t mean they’re not coming back.

“With less parties and glamorous events to attend to I strongly believe that opulent and sexy scents will diminish, but they will come back once everybody will feel free again and we start partying again,” Weber told BD. “In these confined times, a lot of brands will have to rethink their communication as campaigns of sexy girls and boys in nightclubs with sensual fragrances are not appealing to customers anymore. Hence the booming of a brand like Goldfield & Banks that offers dream, escape and quality.”