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Fragrance For the Holiday Season

Dec 16, 12 Fragrance For the Holiday Season

December is here–that means the holiday shopping season has begun. In the spirit of the season, The NPD Group (formerly the National Purchase Diary) completed a report on the top holiday gifts on consumers’ wish list. The global information company discovered that fragrance moved up on the list and is currently one of the top items.

According to the report, fragrance moved from the eighth spot to the sixth spot this year. 14 percent of consumers surveyed stated that they were planning on buying fragrance as a gift. 17 percent of consumers also reported that they actually purchased fragrance to give as a gift.

“Fragrance is having a second banner year,” explained Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst of The NPD Group, in a prepared statement. “This holiday will not be just about the latest gadget or smartphone. Consumers are seeing fragrance as a sweet treat for themself or someone special.”

The NPD found that, from January to October of 2012, almost $1.8 billion was made from prestige fragrance sales. This amount is up seven percent, compared to the previous ten months of 2011. Total number of units sold grew by two percent, with more than 27 million units sold.

In particular, the group found that men’s fragrances sold better than women’s fragrance. While men’s fragrance grew seven percent in dollars from January to October 2012, women’s grew by six percent from January to October 20102. The top selling total prestige fragrance brands for 2012 included Coco Mademoiselle, Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme, Bleu De Chanel, Light Blue, and Chanel No. 5.

“Shoppers are loving the fragrance offerings this year: from classics to new, from women’s to men’s, from woody notes to sweet florals, from premium niche offerings to under one ounce rollerballs, there is something to delight everyone. Add into the mix the increase in unit activity and you will see it’s not just more expensive products that are selling, rather, there are more products selling and that is an encouraging sign heading into the holidays,” commented Grant in the statement.

Furthermore, there are certain countries that trade large amounts of incense. Take Ethiopia for example; the country trades approximately 4,000 tons of frankincense annually. Taking the bark of trees and gathering resin, harvesters are able to tap out various spots along the stem with a chisel. During the dry season, they tap for around eight rounds which last approximately eight months.

However, some believe that, with the highest demand for the resin, the trees are over-exploited and there is an increase in the risk of the trees dying out. A new study by botanists from Ethiopia and Netherlands look at expanding the future of the trees. The findings were recently published in the Annals of Botany.

“In some areas, the high demand for frankincense is causing over-tapping, which is bad for a couple of reasons. Tapping the tree creates wounds in the stem that take resources to be healed, and more wounds create more opportunities for insects to attack the tree. It’s not a surprise that some trees die. This is bad for the tree but also for the people living in those areas, since they depend on the resin production, both economically and culturally,” commented researcher Motuma Tolera in a prepared statement. “One of the problems is the lack of knowledge of the type, architecture and distribution of resin producing, storing and transporting structures in the tree. Such knowledge is needed for improved tapping techniques in the future.”

The researchers believe that the findings will be helpful for Ethiopians and others who produce frankincense products.

“Our results suggest that tapping can become more efficient. A cut that goes deeper, earlier in the tapping cycle, may drain the resin more effectively. Since the 3-D resin canal network may allow for long distance movement of resin when it is intact, this would be an option to reduce the number of cuts, and reduce the damage to the trees. New studies will be needed to show how such improvements may keep trees healthy but still productive for resin production. This opens new ways for a more sustainable frankincense production system,” concluded Tolera in the statement. “It’s nice to discover something new, but here we also have the opportunity to give something back to the people who helped us with the study. I hope everyone in Lemlem Terara, but also elsewhere in Ethiopia, will benefit from what we have found in the future.”

Image Credit: elen 418 / Shutterstock

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