The start of December will see many of us eking out the last few drops of our favourite perfume, hoping to make it last until we (hopefully) unwrap a new bottle on Christmas morning.

Nearly half (49%) of all perfume sales in the UK are made in the run up to Christmas, with Brits spending more than £500m on fragrances in November and December each year on women’s fragrances alone. The spike in sales generally starts in the last few weeks of November, with shoppers looking to find a bargain on their favourite scent in the Black Friday deals and then continue on until Christmas Eve with people still looking to find a last-minute gift.

This year, we can expect gender to be a central theme to the messaging coming from the perfume houses, with women looking to balance femininity and feminism, beauty and power. Meanwhile, the male scent market is expected to continue its recent growth, with men increasingly expecting more sophisticated and nuanced messaging as the market matures, and unisex brands could capitalise on recent trends and ideas of equality.

Most popular women’s fragrances this Christmas

According to predicted sales figures, Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle will be the most popular “spritz” over the Christmas period, with the scent fronted by actress Kiera Knightley expected to sell more than 390,000 bottles. And after outselling its nearest rival, YSL Libre, by nearly two-to-one in recent weeks, it is unlikely any scent could steal its crown this year.

Nonetheless, YSL Libre, which was only released this year, has already found a strong fan-base in part thanks to its marketing campaign with music sensation Dua Lipa. The new oriental fougere fragrance beat out tough competition, including from Chanel No. 5, which boasts, despite being unchanged for nearly a century, is the UK’s third most popular scent this year.

The chypre fragrance Miss Dior, which was rebranded from Miss Dior Cherie in 2012 and has been fronted by Natalie Portman since 2017, is expected to be the fourth most popular scent this year selling around 137,000 bottles. And the top five is predicted to be rounded out by the modern chypre floral fragrance Lancome Idole, which is fronted by American singer and Spider-Man Homecoming actress Zendaya Coleman.

Film stars and musical idols remain popular choices for perfumes looking to sell themselves on luxury, with each of the most popular scents fronted by a different A-list celebrity. Charlize Theron has been the face of Dior J’Adore for 15 years and Julia Roberts has been the face of Lancome La Vie Est Belle since 2018.

Popular men’s scents

The men’s market has broadened considerably in recent years as men have continued their exploration of new fragrances, and this can be seen in the price variation of scents available for men today, with both high street chains and premium perfume houses looking to get in on the action.

High street hero Zara has teamed up with Jo Malone CBE (founder of Jo Loves) to create a collaborative ‘Emotions’ collection of eight exclusive Eau de Parfum fragrances, that range from the feminine Waterlilly Tea Dress to the citrus based Vetiver Pamplemousse, all of which can be bought for under £30.

At the other end of the scale, historic French-British perfume house Creed is having a resurgence under the leadership of Olivier Creed, the sixth generation to run the business. The firm continues to offer some of its traditional fragrances such as Royal English Leather, but it is Olivier’s own creations, such as the Creed Silver Mountain Water famously enjoyed by David Bowie, which are finding new audiences amongst young trendsetters from rappers to YouTube stars.

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