Perfume: 5 things that COVID-19 changes

As with many other industries, perfume has been hit full force by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether new or reinforced, here are the 5 great perfume trends in 2020.

Published on
September 25th 2020

Samuel Fillon

Adam Nieścioruk, Unsplash

As with many other industries, perfume has been hit full force by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether new or reinforced, here are the 5 great perfume trends in 2020.

1. Wellbeing 

We remember the Zoom get-togethers and the “Skype aperitifs”, but social isolation was also long, lazy hours spent at home – for the lucky ones that were not called to the front lines to fight the epidemic. To liven up their isolation, there were several that channeled their frustration by compulsively buying “wellbeing” goods. We’re talking aromatherapy, scented candles or even notorious detox products that promise to eliminate your body of all the lesser recommended substances from daily life. The e-store Zalando has reported that these products have seen an increase in popularity of +300% over the period. In France, statistics group NPD has surveyed an increase in luxury soaps of +800% during the week of March 16th: that is to say if the French were primarily concerned with survival…  

As for perfume, it all depends on the reason why each person wears perfume. If some wear it on their quest for seduction or status – in which case there isn’t really any reason to use the precious liquid during Netflix evenings – others see in perfume a simple and personal pleasure that can liven up a solitary day, even if spent in pajamas.  

2. DIY

We all know this very motivated friend who, out of concern for the virus and excess energy, discovers in them a voracious passion for kneading dough and homemade breads – neo-handymen are obviously also targeted here. In the same vein, some apprentice parfumers have woken up here and there, full of desires for artistic expression. Eternal respect to these newly awoken passions. Only the awakening is often brutal for those that already imagine creating the next Shalimar. To start, quality raw materials are not easily accessible and even with a large perfume organ, one quickly discovers that all odor associations are not equivalent. Between noxious concoctions and juices that are almost hilariously transient, one quickly hangs up their master perfumer apron and remembers the experience as a good time gone, sometimes a few laughs and a powerful headache. 

Editor’s note: If you persist in your creative ambitions, Aromazone provides essential oil kits which, short of transforming you into the Picasso of perfume, will allow you to discover quality scents and make you progress in your olfactory knowledge.  

3. In-store technologies  

Might as well say it now, perfumeries have had a difficult 2020. Closed, as were all non-essential commerce, perfumeries have not really benefitted from the easing of social restrictions like restaurants and other businesses done in person. The reason, the very understandable concern of catching this fearless COVID and to pass it on to their loved ones: according to a study led by First Insight, 80% of American consumers are uneasy at the thought of trying products in stores. 

Perfumery and cosmetics chains are therefore trying everything to welcome their clients despite everything. To start, testers are no longer self-serve, it’s the salesperson that is in charge of touching the products. So a return to the 1980s, the era when the salesperson had a more central role of advising and teaching – assuming you landed on the right person. Otherwise, one is quickly nostalgic of the recent era when one could roam freely in store and test new products quickly.


For lovers of technology, the Spanish company AirParfum is behind a new diffusion technology that allows the user to test several tens of perfumes without contact (although with the assistance of a touch screen, to select). The device, though practical and allowing an excellent restitution (we tested it for you!), is also very pricey and can hardly be deployed at a large scale. It is quite a shame since this type of technology truly allows the safe testing of the product. 

4. Sampling 

To avoid personal contact and crowds, all while having access to more references, the simplest is to receive samples at home. If sampling was already popular pre-COVID, especially for niche brands, the tendency has been significantly
. Each brand now ceates discovery kits, often with a savings coupon redeemable on the purchase of a full bottle: a good way to test without taking too many risks! It is the procedure we use at Sommelier du Parfum, with the distinction that we allow you to choose 5 samples from several hundreds, selected according to you preferences… 

5. Transparency and “clean” products 

The major trends of 2019, namely the quest for “neutrality” and transparency on behalf of brands, have only been accelerated by social isolation according to the NPD Group numbers. Brand engagement, especially on the question of the environment, have unsurprisingly been among the essential purchasing criteria for consumers. While several brands have already started to endeavour to make their products “cleaner” according to criteria set forth by product information apps such as Yuka, this wave of reformulation takes time and has not yet really touched the perfume industry, which is certainly regulated, but that nevertheless allows plenty of junk through the net’s mesh. If you want to know if your perfume contains any less-than-rocking substances, head over to the Sommelier du Parfum app (on iOS and Android ) and we will tell you everything on your favourite perfume. No filters, we promise.

Le parfum idéal est à votre portée.