Entertaining Statistics: January, 2013


Imagine: magazines and newspapers without a single ad; public TV programs and sports events uninterrupted by commercials; downtowns and highways without any billboards in sight; no SALE, Everyday Value or CLEARANCE signs in stores.

All those aren’t scenes from a fiction [unti-]utopian book: that was my life until I was in my early twenties. In the country where I lived there was no advertising, no competing brands and, to think of it, not too many choices for any goods or services.

As a result products’ packaging was minimalistic, not too elaborate or appealing. It was mostly functional. That’s why many products had the same packaging for decades: matches, condensed milk, salt, dairy, etc.

Soviet Products

After moving to the US the biggest shopping challenge for me (after figuring out what “Paper or plastic?” means) wasn’t even choosing the right product from a dozen of similar ones packaged differently by each brand but getting the same product every next time I needed to replenish something. I stopped registering any progress in razor blades after the number reached four. I came to peace with buying a new type of face cream from the same brand every couple of years: I can at least hope they fight my aging process better and better with every new jar (though I’m still angry with several major brands for switching from glass to plastic – at those prices plastic feels too cheap, I still remember how nice old heavy glass jars and bottles felt in hand). But a toothpaste? Sanitary napkins? Paper towels? Do they really improve those every two-three months?

Being annoyed by the necessity to solve a type/size/price riddle every time at a store, I remember complaining that I wasn’t a stupid consumer with short attention span who wouldn’t remember what she bought previously and needed to be constantly razzle-dazzled by “new”, “better” or “improved” qualifiers.

Thinking about perfumes and statistics this moth I started wondering whether perfume brands were really wrong producing 1,000+ new perfumes per year. Are at least we, perfume enthusiasts, immune to the marketing push strategy?

I took a closer look at my full bottles purchases – over the last two years (since I started this blog) and for 2012-YTD. Not to divulge the absolute number of the perfumes that joined my collection I’m operating with %% from the total perfumes bought during those two periods (but actual bottle numbers were big enough to be representative).

January 2013 Stats

As you can see, I’ve bought a lot of recent releases: more than 50% of the perfumes added to my collection during the recent two years appeared on the market in the last five years. It skews even further towards new perfumes for the last year purchases – more than 60% are newer perfumes. And there are at least three perfumes from 2012 on my “to buy” list. Meanwhile some of the bottles from older days stay on that list without even moving up. So it seems that with me the perfume industry is hitting the target. What about you?

I do not expect that normal people keep all that information handy but let’s try something simpler:

What is the release year of your most recent full bottle perfume purchase?



Image: Soviet products – compilation from multiple sources; stats – my own.


48 thoughts on “Entertaining Statistics: January, 2013

  1. Fascinating post! I have always said that we are inundated with way too many products in this country (including perfume) that does nothing less than confuse the consumer! In middle school I had friend who had recently moved to the US from Israel. Within one year she had gained twenty pounds because she was so overtaken by the variety of food (mostly processed stuff :( !!) that she just had to try everything she could!

    My most recent full bottle purchase is the one I have been waiting months to be released-SSS Cocoa Sandalwood. And soon I will be the proud owner of SSS Spicy Citrus Vetiver. Yet, if I can help it, those will be my only purchases for this year (unless of course Laurie manages to eek out another natural before the end of 2013). However, I do not feel that I fit into the demographics as most of what I purchased over the last 5 years are standards of indie and artisanal lines. I tend to shy away from trying niche and new releases for two reasons-I can’t keep up and would not want to fall in love with a bottle that would cost more than my weekly grocery bill for a family of five :) !!


    • Well, brie, you better start saving your pennies because my bet is that Laurie will get the third one out this year as well.

      I wasn’t talking only about niche and high-end releases though. There were many mainstream releases that Perfumeland liked – Bottega Veneta, Prada Candy, Elie Saab, Hermes. And it’s especially easy to go with the flow when a new bottle doesn’t “cost more than […] weekly grocery bill for a family of five.”


  2. I bought the wrong toothpaste for my hubby a few times. Right brand, wrong version. He couldn’t understand why I kept getting the wrong thing so I told him if you think you can pick out the version of Crest that you want from the multitude of Crest toothpastes on the store shelf, be my guest. He came home from the store and apologized. He also bought the wrong toothpaste.
    Anyway, my last full bottle purchase was Heeley Cardinal which was a 2006 release.


  3. I’ve wondered if this happens because early on in perfumania we go through most of the older perfumes we are interested in. So after a couple of years our focus moves to new releases. My latest purchase was Ormonde Woman, released in 2002 – so I don’t back up my own theory!


    • I think it happens because old(er) releases seem more accessible. So we wait to get a good deal, postpone the purchase until , etc. And new ones are very attractive and … new :)


  4. Yay, perfect timing- because I’m going to throw the statistics at bit. 1880! Apart from that I was a bit surprised that the release years which holds the most of my bottles were 2000-05, with over 40%.
    Love your statistics.


  5. I so agree with Birgit – you are inimitable!! Love this post.

    Mona di Orio Vanille and Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse were both launched in 2011, so that would be the most recent release year for my purchases.

    Followed by Amouage Opus I, Honore des Pres Vamp a NY, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir, all three of which launched in 2010. Looks like I’m behind the times! ;)


      • 1-2 year since the launch is still very new – especially taking into the account that it’s not that easy to get to sample those right after the release. So don’t flatter yourself, you’re with Birgit and I in that boat ;)

        Oh, and thank you for your kind words, Suzanne.


  6. Love the graph, as always! ;-)

    My resolution for 2013 is to review every perfume already in my possession: sample, decant, or bottle, before buying anything new. I’m hoping that the the new niche house bubble will pop by 2014!

    In the meantime, I am taking a break from the “new is better” hype. Why? Because so many of the “big new thing” launches over the last couple of years seemed rather little and hackneyed to me.

    Now, to answer your question: at the tail end of 2012, I purchased some back-up 100ml bottles from the L’Artisan Parfumeur sale. At about the same time my recently ordered bottle of Hermès Ambre des Merveilles–launched in 2012–also arrived!


    • Thank you, Shera Pop!

      It’s easier for me: I do not review even most of my favorite perfumes, let alone decants or samples – or at the rate 1-2 posts/week I wouldn’t be buying anything – new or old(er) – for several years to come :)


  7. My last FB purchase was Les Nereides Opoponax – I cannot find information on the release date though I’m sure it wasn’t released recently.

    Samples and decants tell a different story though!


  8. My last FB purchase was the original Jacomo Silences which came out in 1978 but, I am sure mine is the 2004 reformulation. I bought it to compare to the Eau de sublime version my mom just bought which is from 2012. But, I would have to say that most of my collection is from much more recent years. I have quite a few classics but, it is the new stuff that seems to capture my attention now. Your post makes me want to really look into my collection stats now.


  9. Your graphs just kill me, and I am so with you on the fatuous product relaunch thing. I remember being especially bemused some years ago now by new Persil washing powder tablets “with fizzing action”. So the old ones that didn’t fizz didn’t clean then??
    : – )

    My last FB purchase was Cloon Keen Atelier Castana from 2012, so I am also bang on trend!


    • Thank you, Vanessa!

      You know, every time I think along the same lines: so, now you’re saying it’s working – what about before?

      Cloon Keen Atelier Castana… I haven’t even heard that name before – and you’ve already bought a bottle!


  10. My last FB purchase was a month ago and was a bottle of vintage Opium from the 1970s!! Prior to that, it was a bottle of Montana from the ’80s and a bottle of Yvresse from the ’90s, so I would skew the trend a little. :D I did buy 2 bottles of perfumes in 2012 that were released in 2012, but generally, as a trend, I went for vintage. 1970s Opium…. mmmmm.


    • I was thinking about people who are “into vintage perfumes”: they are in a different category. I definitely prefer modern perfumes (though I did recently buy a bottle of vintage Miss Dior).


  11. My most recent full-bottle purchase for myself was Ineke’s Sweet William, which was released in 2012, and then promptly discontinued.

    My most recent full-bottle purchase for my husband was also a 2012 release (Atelier Cologne Vetiver Fatal). hmmmm. And I happen to know he has gotten me a 2011 release for Valentine’s Day (Tableau de Parfums Miriam). :)

    As much as we rant about so many new perfumes being released, I think there is really some truth to the marketing of why they’re releasing so many new perfumes. Even perfumistas are not immune. I mean, when I was working retail, we would talk about “newness” and when the “newness” would happen everyone just felt happier. It’s weird. But I do love the thrill of the chase and trying new things. So I’m actually completely OK with the crazy pace of releases, for the most part. I have accepted that I can’t try everything and it’s fun to try the news things I can.

    One thing about myself is I know that I also *for the most part* prefer perfumes that I can buy on the market today, not vintage and eBay. I do like many vintage perfumes but I don’t have the time, energy, or money to spend a lot of time chasing them. So with many discontinuations today, most of what I try and buy is going to be at least new-ish.


    • I completely with you on vintage perfumes!

      Sweet William isn’t discontinued! Anthropologie had it on sale because they were switching to a new packaging (cute small bottles). Regular bottles are still available from Ineke’s site.


  12. U – I always seem to be behind the times, but my most recent release purchases would be Musc Tonkin by Pd’E, Trayee by NVC and Chypre Palatin by MDCI… ok, maybe I’m not so behind in times. Maybe it’s just that I’m lightheaded because I spent to much on perfumes this past year and that seems to be continuing into 2013! xoxoxox Steve


  13. You know, I think I adore you because you remind me so much of my husband. A great love of data and no patience with marketing. :-)
    My most recent FB purchase was the Bill Blass Nude parfum, release year 1991. I am probably a throwback.


  14. Great post, Undina! You know I love the statistics :-) It’s funny: I never thought of being a sucker for new releases, but I have picked up quite a few this past year: Seville à l’aube, Fils de Dieu, L’Ambre des merveilles, Sous le toit de Paris. Maybe I am more susceptible than I thought!


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