A password will be e-mailed to you.

Retail Reflections: On the scent of shoppers who live alone

Alan Monahan writes: I confess to being fascinated by Mintel research, the breadth of which seems to know no bounds.


Its most recent piece of information to grab my attention was the revelation that we Brits are turning to air care products to tackle pollution. Apparently, we are concerned about the quality of air outside and inside our homes.

But the good news is that the future of these products smells sweet indeed. According to Mintel it is estimated that UK consumers will spend £502 million on them in 2017, up from £499 million last year. What’s more, it’s predicted that the market will increase to £563 million by 2022.

As many as 51% of Brits have used sprays and aerosols in the past 12 months, followed by scented candles (43%) and reed diffusers and scented oils (26%).

Candles are lighting the way for the future of the air care market, with Mintel research highlighting that most are likely to hold a flame for candles as a result of their style as much as their scent.

Of those who have lit scented candles in the last 12 months, 60% did so to create a cosy atmosphere, 33% to get into the spirit of a season, such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas, while 24% used them because they felt stressed. And one in three (34%) reached for a candle when they noticed a bad odour.

However, there are some factors that get on the wick of many when it comes to the air care market. More than one in four (28%) Brits say they are discouraged from using these products as they are too expensive, while 14% reveal they are worried about their ingredients. And 13% say they give them, or others, a headache.

Finally, Mintel research shows that when it comes to bad smells, they really are the fault of other people. One in four (25%) UK residents living on their own say that they are discouraged from using air care products, as they don’t feel they are necessary, compared to 14% of those who live in households of four people.

I was intrigued by the conclusion of Richard Hopping, the household and brand analyst at Mintel, who said that targeting people living on their own at times when they are likely to be expecting guests “may be crucial in terms of attracting new shoppers to the category for future use”.

That could lead to some rather indelicate TV advertising campaigns. As I write, thoughts of socks less than fragrant – and worse! – invade my senses. It’s a good job that we don’t have ‘smellyvision’.

Now please excuse me while I light a scented candle.