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What Estée Lauder’s Tom Ford Acquisition Means for the Future of Fragrance

In The News Beauty
Tom Ford's Estée Lauder acquisition demonstrates the boom of fragrance

In November 2022, when Estée Lauder acquired Tom Ford for an eye-popping price tag of $2.8B, many media outlets focused on the implications of the deal for both brands’ fashion lines. However, one key factor that often escaped coverage was Tom Ford’s notable momentum in the fragrance vertical. At Tribe Dynamics, a CreatorIQ company, we strive to provide the full story behind the biggest deals from the most notable brands—and neglecting Tom Ford Fragrance just didn’t pass the smell test.

In this blog post, we’ll analyze the factors fueling momentum for Tom Ford Fragrance, and how these factors have contributed to a boom for the fragrance industry at large.

Tom Ford Fragrance Surges in 2022

From January 2022 to January 2023, a 13-month time period, Tom Ford collected $14.5M EMV, a 27% year-over-year growth. While the brand’s 1.6k creators and 4.4k posts represented just 1% and 5% YoY gains, Tom Ford Fragrance benefited from heightened activity among its community: creators averaged $8.9k EMV each, an impressive 25% YoY boost in potency.

The key to this surge in content creation? A healthy mix of posts from consistent and incoming creators. Tom Ford Fragrance saw improvements among both cohorts. Creators who posted about the brand during both the time period monitored and the prior 13 months upped their contributions from $6.9M to $7.9M EMV. Meanwhile, incoming creators accounted for $6.6M EMV, outpacing the $4.2M total driven by creators who mentioned Tom Ford Fragrance from December 2020 to December 2021, then dropped off more recently.

News of Tom Ford’s acquisition also sparked activity among fragrance enthusiasts. After averaging $1.0M EMV per month from January to October 2022, Tom Ford Fragrance reeled off $1.4M, $1.2M, and $1.4M EMV in November, December, and January, respectively. Much of this momentum was driven by longtime advocates like Alex Costa and Demi Rawling, who featured their favorite fragrances in various fashion looks, upping their EMV contributions relative to the previous months by a respective 206% and 207%.

Tom Ford Black Orchid Perfume

Tom Ford’s Success Is Part of a Broader Fragrance Boom

Like a field of flowers in bloom, fragrance as a whole has prospered over recent months, underscoring the savviness of Estée Lauder’s investment in Tom Ford. From January 2022 to January 2023, the top 15 fragrance brands by EMV averaged a 19% improvement versus the previous 13 months. Over the same period, these brands expanded their communities by an average of 17%, demonstrating that more and more creators are talking about all things fragrance.

There are several reasons why fragrance has displayed such impressive momentum recently. As the world continues to reopen following the pandemic, many consumers are turning to fragrance to complete their going-out ensembles, boosting the vertical after comparatively homebound seasons in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, many brands are tapping into enthusiasm for home and lifestyle fragrances, including pioneering scentmaker Le Labo, which enjoyed a 22% YoY surge during the time period monitored. 

Finally, fragrance is all the rage on TikTok, proving that fragrance’s ephemeral appeal translates even to the short-form video medium. The top 15 fragrance brands averaged a whopping 136% YoY surge in TikTok EMV, with Tom Ford Fragrance experiencing a particularly notable 256% YoY improvement. TikTok was key to the hype around the brand’s Lost Cherry scent, while many top EMV-drivers offered discount codes for Tom Ford Fragrance offerings via advertorial TikTok content.

How Can Fragrance Brands Stay Fresh?

a gold perfume and other beauty products

As seen from the success of Tom Ford Fragrance, its parent brand’s blockbuster acquisition, and recent momentum for fragrance as a whole, the vertical is in the midst of an impressive win streak. Here are some best practices that fragrance brands can embrace to refine and improve their influencer marketing strategies and take their programs from good to great:

  • Type of Mentions Matter: Finding a creator who consistently mentions your fragrance brand is only half the battle. It’s also important to understand how a creator posts about your brand. Does your brand appear in an in-depth product review, a fashion look, or a stylized flat-lay? By identifying the specific “genres” of content that your brand or similar brands are featured in, you’ll be better positioned to craft campaigns and activations that will excite and inspire your community.
  • For Luxury Brands, Capitalize on Cross-Vertical Moments: Fragrance brands that belong to a larger luxury or fashion label enjoy a unique opportunity. When developing influencer marketing campaign strategies for fragrance, it’s important to promote a passion for the broader label among creators. One way brands can accomplish this is by crafting activations that build on a single “moment” for the label across its various verticals, as Tom Ford did around Fashion Week promotions throughout the year.
  • Let Brand Partners’ Creativity Shine: Trust creators to put their own unique spin on brand directives—especially on TikTok, where authenticity and personality are key to success. When pairing up with a creator to publicize a fragrance offering, let them take the lead on how they implement the messaging. Consumers—and your bottom line—will thank you.

For more updates on all things fragrance and beauty, and to learn about trends across the creator economy as a whole, keep following our blog.

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