Justin Bieber has one. Taylor Swift has one. Even Hannah Montana has one. From Britney Spears to Beyonce, teen targeted fragrances are everywhere. It’s hardly a new phenomenon — Debbie Gibson had her own “Electric Youth” fragrance in the 80s. But now it seems that having a signature fragrance (or four) is just part of being a celebrity.
It’s no surprise that retailers love to peddle these products. They get shoppers in stores to check out the latest offering from their celebrity obsession. Justin Bieber’s recent fragrance release, Someday, drew crowds and broke sales records at Macy’s.
While they may seem like unusual product extensions for music and TV stars, they make some sense in terms of brand extension. Both Taylor Swift’s and Justin Bieber’s new launches come with commercials that reflect their brand images, even if they may look a little ridiculous to non-fans. (Really Justin? Flying??) Swift named her fragrance after a song lyric and the scent, from the bottle to the imagery, reflects the star’s fairytale appeal. Bieber’s Someday was named based on the concept that we can all achieve our dreams eventually if we work at them, just like he did rising to fame on YouTube.
But are teens buying all this? Sales stats aside, 27% of high school and college students have bought a celebrity fragrance, according to our research. While that may not seem like a huge number, it’s substantial considering that a minority of students wear fragrance regularly.
As would be expected, celeb fragrances are more popular with girls (34%) than guys (15%) because girls are more likely than guys to buy and wear fragrances in general. However, among teens who have bought such scents, guys (17%) are more likely than girls (12%) to say they specifically bought it because they’re big fans of the celebrity. Girls (61%), on the other hand, are more likely than guys (53%) to buy it just because they like the way it smells.
This actually makes sense: guys aren’t as concerned as girls about wearing fragrance. Getting them to spend for a fragrance — as opposed to a body spray, for example — requires additional motivation, such as wishing to emulate a celebrity. Retailers could be missing an opportunity considering that most celebrity fragrances are designed for women, who are less motivated to buy because of the celebrity connection. Meanwhile, Selena Gomez has a forthcoming fragrance that her fans can help design, which may win over teen scent shoppers since it will be a scent they like and are invested in.