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2021 Fragrance Trends: Focus on Latin America

Latin America is a fast-growing market where new trends emerge at a rapid pace every year. To learn more about the latest fragrance trends and to reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on the local industry, we sat down with Paula Fernández, marketing representative at Iberchem Colombia.

What trends have emerged in Colombia and Mexico in recent months? Have you noticed any influence from the COVID-19 pandemic?

I would say that, in a year of change like no other, there was definitely an olfactory tendency towards fresh, citric and herbal notes. When combined with antibacterial formulas, they tend to help reinforce the perception of efficiency by conveying a feeling of cleanliness and providing a sense of security to the consumer.

On the other hand, there has been a change concerning fruity notes; people no longer like single notes such as apple, pear or peach. Nowadays, we are seeing a preference more complicated and customized fragrances, which we know as fruity accords.

Lastly, it is important to note that the latest trend is nature-inspired fragrances. Some of the more significant notes this year have been eucalyptus, lavender, green tea and activated charcoal. 

Have you noticed an increased interest in any specific fragrance application?

The COVID-19 pandemic definitively impacted and transformed our lifestyles, habits and behaviours. As a result, we saw significant growth in the home care category mainly due to the increasing frequency with which homes, offices, stores, etc. are cleaned.

On the other hand, even though the personal care category slowed down a little bit, it still grew in several categories, such as liquid soap, hand soap and antibacterial gel, mainly because of the increasing frequency with which people are washing their hands.

We could say that nowadays customers are (obviously) on a constant quest for a germ-free environment.

Do you notice any local increase in interest towards natural products?

Indeed, there is a growing demand, but I think it will become even more obvious in the near future. The consumer is looking more and more for the benefits of natural ingredients. Nonetheless, I think that socioeconomic factors, such as the uncertain future of the economy and the rising levels of unemployment, are really what will shape consumer shopping habits in the near future. Therefore, I guess we could say that consumers will be looking for natural products within their financial limits.

 Is sustainability important in your market?

 Regardless of the commotion caused by COVID-19 and the downturn in the economy, sustainability has not disappeared from people’s priorities. Currently, we find that consumers are more conscious and worry about the environment and the society in which they live. However, in Latin American countries, there is a gap between people who say that they care (intention) and those who actually do something about it (action). When we talk about sustainable products, it is important to be aware of the product’s life cycle, starting from how ingredients are sourced through to how the consumer can dispose of the product. I believe that there is still a lot of work to do in terms of educating Latin American consumers about sustainability.