The Maker of Taylor Swift Perfume Says Celebrity Fragrance Sales Are Falling

Taylor Swift '1989' World Tour - Sydney
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 28: Taylor Swift performs during her '1989' World Tour at ANZ Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
Photograph by Mark Metcalfe—Getty Images

It looks like fewer people want to smell like Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift.

Elizabeth Arden, (RDEN) famous for its namesake upmarket beauty products, said on Thursday that sales of celebrity fragrances declined again last quarter, contributing to a 3.6% decline in company revenue to $582.2 million.

Though Arden didn’t call out any particular line, the company manufactures fragrances for only four celebrities: Bieber, Swift, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. And that part of its business has been hurting for a while: last year, celebrity and designer fragrances sales fell 17%. Those declines continued into the first two quarters of the current fiscal year. But given that scents by designers, which include Juicy Couture and John Varvatos are generating more and more business for Arden, it follows that the celebrity products fell even more dramatically.

Celebrity fragrances are catnip for manufacturers. They typically sell like hotcakes at launch but flame out quickly. And they also are cheaper than other fragrances since they typically appeal to less discerning young shoppers. Designers scents typically have a longer shelf life because of the credibility such names have in the beauty sector, in other words, they’re not just celebs slapping their name on a product.

On the brighter side for Arden, its years-long efforts to restore its namesake brand’s upscale aura appear to be paying off: the Elizabeth Arden brand’s sales rose 4% last quarter. Still, Justin, Tay-tay et al may continue to be a drag of company results since the Arden brand is only about one-third of sales.

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