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Trends and Staying Power in New Air Care Products: The Role of Scent in Innovation

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There is no shortage of decisions regarding attributes that companies need to consider when innovating in their industries and introducing new products to the market. In an industry like air care, scent is one such attribute that can significantly impact a new product’s performance. Scents have a powerful conscious and unconscious influence on consumers and so companies need to carefully monitor how consumer preference is changing. By utilising Euromonitor’s new Innovation system, we can identify the most prevalent scents in new brand and sub-brand launches, observe the scents experiencing the fastest growth within these brands and, perhaps most importantly, discern which scents exhibit “staying power” in this innovative space.

Timeless scents are the most popular for new product launches
Chart showing Number of New Brands/Sub-brands by Scent in Air Care, 2022-2023

The global air care industry experienced a decline in value growth in 2023, marking the second consecutive year of contraction following robust growth during the pandemic. However, from 2023 until 2028, the global market is anticipated to undergo a strong recovery, projected to grow at a 6% CAGR, according to Euromonitor’s 2024 Home Care edition. Monitoring and prioritising innovation isn't exclusive to times of prosperity and heightened sales; it's equally vital during challenging periods to stimulate sales and reconnect with customers.

One pivotal way in which air care companies innovate is through their scents. Recent trends in the air care industry have emphasised timelessness and simplicity.

Floral, vanilla, and wood emerged as the leading scents for new brand and sub-brand launches in air care in 2022 and 2023, with floral-scented launches nearly triple the presence of vanilla- or wood-scented product launches

Source: Euromonitor International

During challenging economic times, consumers can often seek familiarity and comfort, explaining why these well-established scents have spearheaded new brand and sub-brand launches globally. In the realm of innovation, it's imperative for companies to develop products that resonate with the appropriate emotional needs of consumers and position themselves for resilience and strength in the market.

Calming scents lead growth in the innovation space for 2023

Chart showing Change in Number of New Air Care Brands/Sub-brands by Most Popular vs Fastest  Growing Scent, 2022-2023

While floral, vanilla and wood scents dominated the new launches tracked in Euromonitor’s Innovation system over the 2-year period, only vanilla-scented products showed positive growth in 2023 compared to the number of launches in 2022. Lavender and jasmine scents, known for their soothing qualities, experienced rapid growth in the scented air care products market, alongside apple-scented products. With global consumers grappling with increased stress and anxiety, companies aimed to address these concerns by offering scented products focused on wellness and natural living, tapping into botanical scents associated with relaxation, happiness and nostalgia.

For example, Reckitt Benckiser introduced its Air Wick Vibrant Essential Oils in the US in January 2023, featuring a Lavender & Waterlily scent among its four varieties. This product is marketed as a connection to nature, utilising essential oils, particularly the lavender scent, to induce relaxed moods for users at home. According to Euromonitor’s Innovation data, the sub-brand launch was initially spotted in Target in January 2023 and has since expanded into various key US retailers, indicating its successful launch in the market. And the online data backs up this successful expansion: according to Euromonitor’s e-commerce sales system, the Air Wick brand witnessed substantial online sales growth in the US, increasing by 26% in 2023 compared to 2022. While multiple factors contribute to the success of new product launches, the selection of the key scent remains paramount, despite limitations in available varieties.Screenshot of EMI's Paasport dataset

Floral-scented products have strongest “staying power”

Chart showing fragrance growthInnovation isn’t just about introducing new products; while many new products come and go in the market, tracking what products stay on the (virtual) shelves provides valuable insights into what is standing out in the marketplace. Staying with the most popular and fastest growing scented air care products, we can see that there is a reason why the majority of companies introduce floral-scented products the most often in the 2-year time period.

Of all the floral-scented products introduced in 2022 and 2023 in the 32 countries covered, 77% were still available at the end of 2023, significantly higher than the other scents examined in the sample

Source: Euromonitor International's Innovation dataset

While there can be a number of factors contributing to the “staying power” of products and no one factor can explain all success, analysing the patterns and differences of key attributes like scents can unlock key insights into the competitive world of innovation and new product launches.

To learn more about tracking new brand and sub-brand launches across the global digital shelf, read our article, Strategies for Success in Innovation and New Product Development, and visit our Innovation product page.

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