Case Study on French Consumers and Home Fragrances – PRS IN VIVO – A BVA GROUP COMPANY

Case Study on French Consumers and Home Fragrances

Recently, the PRS IN VIVO Luxury Team performed in-depth research for home fragrance retailer, Scentys, on the fragrance preferences and habits of French consumers. The Luxury Team used their expertise and knowledge of Happiness Science with the application of a behavioral foundation to determine the popularity of home fragrances, the emotional connection to various scents, and the motivation behind using home fragrances. Read the article posted by Scentys here (Article is in French). Please see below for an English translation.

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French People and Fragrances

14 January 2020

85% of French people perfume the interior of their home.

This is one of the key figures in the survey commissioned by Scentys from market research company PRS IN VIVO (a subsidiary of the BVA group), on the report of French people and scents.

Does this habit change depending on where people live? Are some scents more popular than others? Are we all sensitive to the same smells and for the same reasons? What does a fragrant atmosphere bring us?

Perfume your home: a growing need amid city life

Beyond the purely functional aspect of deodorization, 75% of French people seek to create a personalized atmosphere and a comforting, relaxing environment through interior scents.

So, if half the French wish to mask odors linked to cooking, tobacco, or animals, the study also highlights the growing need to perfume their home simply for pleasure. This habit is seen even more in urban areas, with 44% of people perfuming their home interior that live in cities with populations greater than 100,000, against 36% in rural areas.

This mindset is found in environments like the car, a personal space, a home- places in which people want to feel comfortable. For example, 81% of French people perfume their car for their well-being.

Tastes and scents

The answers to the questions "Are you sensitive to the smells around you?" and “What are your favorite smells” reveal two major lines of reflection:

  • The need for a return to nature, and a healthier environment- 54% of those questioned replied "natural smells," such as the smell of cut grass, iodine or rain, and "plant smells," such as flowers, lavender, roses.
  • Smell – a gender sensitivity? The answers given also suggest gendered opinions around smells, based on habits of life or past experiences. The explanations and levels of sensitivity vary:
    • 85% of women say they are sensitive to smells, compared to 73% of the male population. Regarding their favorite smells, men note those related to pleasures of the palate, like roasted meat, pancakes, and aromatic herbs. Women also cite these olfactory pleasures, but the proportion is lower: 30% against 54% in men.
    • The female gender turns more to adjectives, evocations, memories of childhood, or seasons, revealing a more personalized relationship with scents.

The French, more and more sensitive to smells

50% of 18-34 year-olds perfume their home interior as opposed to 39% among 35-year-olds and over. The former would associate a more emotional than functional dimension to perfume, unlike their elders, highlighting the need for relaxation more than freshness or cleanliness.

The final word: the olfactory experience or a happiness factory

Smell is one of the most complex senses- Everyone perceives odors differently according to their own experience and sensibilities. But, beyond a simple rational perception linked to the state of cleanliness, good smells undeniably contribute to feelings of pleasure, serenity, and make us savor the present moment. Let's not mince our words, we can speak of real “positive capital” of smells!


Sample of 1,000 people, representative of the French population 52% women - 48% men. 26% of 18 - 34 year-olds, 34% of 35 - 54 year-olds, 40% of people over 55 years old.