The Cost Of Perfume Part 2 – Packaging

In today’s look at what contributes to the price of a fragrance, niche or otherwise I’m going to talk about:


In an industry that has thousands of new launches a year it can be difficult for a brand to be heard above the noise of those with the biggest budgets and the most outrageous campaigns.  We are very visual beings so as much as we would like to think otherwise we are very swayed by outward appearances and have expections of people, brands and products that are based on first impressions.

Research has shown that people differ in their susceptibility to impulsive buying. The appeal of product packaging has the potential to trigger impulsive buying even for consumers with no intention to make a purchase*

So for a product to sell in today’s environment first impressions count – and first impressions are packaging when it comes to perfume and beauty products.  You may look at niche fragrance lines with their rows of similar and plain packaging and think – “well that’s not true, it’s all about the content” and you could be right but we really are more susceptible than we would like to think.

Hilde Soliani bell'antonio
Hilde Soliani Bell’antonio
I adore the fragrance, packaging not so much

Picture this: You smell a fragrance and fall in love with it, not knowing what the packaging looks like. The sales assistant says it’s $200 and pulls out the full bottle which looks cheap with a hastily applied label.  The appearance doesn’t match the price – do you feel a pang of disappointment?

Another one: You smell a fragrance and fall in love with it, not knowing what the packaging looks like or what the brand is. You like to think of yourself as a discerning fragrance buyer with exquisite taste. The sales assistant says it’s $20 and pulls out a really tacky brand that you’d be embarrassed to have on your dresser. How do you feel?

When it comes to buying any luxury product there are certain criteria we expect.  With perfume the weight of the bottle and the quality of the box are really important if we want to feel we have got our money’s worth.  Most people cannot tell by smelling a fragrance whether or not it’s good quality only if they like it or not, they have to rely on the packaging and branding to feel confident they are not being taken for a ride.

Of course this has been used to great effect by many brands to sell products that are style over substance so consumers are looking past showy packaging especially when it comes to niche fragrances.  Even with plain packaging it still needs to have weight and communicate quality if you want to justify the price.

“OK so if niche lines are forgoing flash packaging does that mean the cost is all going on the juice?”

Unfortunately not, and it’s not really their fault, you see packaging is expensive – even if it doesn’t look it.  As a small brand you have very limited choice in what is actually available in a small quantity (i.e under 10,000 units and even less if you are only looking for 1,000).  If you want something custom made then you need to also look at tooling cost and warehousing the pallets of bottles you need to produce as a minimum run.  There are a few companies that sell bottles and screen print in small runs but cost really depends on how many you are producing.  At the end of this series I’ll do a costing breakdown of what you need to keep in mind if you are thinking of launching a product range so keep an eye out over the coming weeks or join the mailing list to keep in touch.

I’d love to know your thoughts so leave a comment below.  Are you swayed by packaging? Is it something you struggle to find for your own products? Let me know!

If you missed the previous post on ingredients you can read it HERE


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