Oud is the UK’s favourite perfume scent, with 14,800 average monthly Google searches

With Valentine’s Day just days away, some may be on the hunt for last-minute gifts for that special someone, friends, or simply as a treat for themselves.

20 percent of adults celebrating this year are expected to buy or gift fragrance or perfume, but it can be tricky to decide which scent to pick with so many options available.

To help out indecisive shoppers, Lifestyle Packaging conducted a study to discover which scents are the most popular in the UK to guide your fragrance purchasing decisions.

The clear but perhaps surprising winner crowned the UK’s favourite perfume scent is oud, with 14,800 monthly Google searches, on average per month.

Oud has become a popular perfume ingredient due to its rich, smoky, and woody scent profile, so it’s understandable that searches peaked in November 2023, with 22,200 average online searches as an autumn-winter fragrance.

One of the oldest and most expensive perfume ingredients, its use dates as far back as the third century and oud oil can cost over £20,000 per kilogram

It has become a fast favourite thanks to platforms like TikTok, where #oud has over 1.2 billion views, and through cult classic fragrances like Tom Ford’s Oud Wood and Gucci’s Intense Oud.

To no one’s surprise, in second place is vanilla, with 8,100 average monthly searches. A staple scent for many, #vanillaperfume has over 508 million TikTok views as thousands of users share their favourite perfumes that remind them of milkshakes, cake, ice cream and other treats.

Gourmand and sweet, we often associate vanilla with baking and sweets, and it is a nostalgic smell for many due to its association with childhood and happy memories.

Vanilla is incredibly versatile, as it can be layered with other fragrance notes to smell slightly different. For example, Maison Margiela’s By The Fireplace has a smoky vanilla scent, while Vanilla Vibes from Juliette Has a Gun has a fresher vanilla smell and Yves Saint Laurent’s Libre combines vanilla with floral notes.

Another fragrance favourite, coconut is the third most favourite scent, receiving 3,600 monthly searches on average.

Tropical coconut has an exotic olfactory profile that often reminds us of summer and holidays abroad, and like oud and vanilla, it’s also a TikTok favourite with over 66.9 million views.

Naturally, searches for coconut perfume peaked during June and July, with 4400 monthly Google searches, and popular options include Maison Margiela’s Beach Walk, Guerlain’s Coconut Fizz, and The 7 Virtues’ Coconut Sun.

In fourth and fifth position are musk and rose which have 2900 average monthly searches per month each.

Musk is often used as a fragrance base note and can smell rich and leathery or clean and fresh depending on other notes it is mixed with, and it has seen an 83 percent increase in search volume in the last three months.

Meanwhile, searches for ‘floral rose’ have increased by 52 percent in the last three months, with searches bizarrely peaking in November last year, despite its spring-like scent.

Completing the top ten most popular perfume scents are amber, jasmine, and patchouli (1,900 average monthly searches each), sandalwood (1,600 average monthly searches), and bergamot (1,300 average monthly searches).

Now that you know which scents are most popular, here’s some tips to help you pick the right one:

1.     Choose the right notes

If you’re selecting a scent for someone else, find out what fragrance family they usually gravitate towards.

For example, if they wear sweeter scents, vanilla and coconut fragrances will likely be most suitable, but if they prefer earthy and musky scents, oud and musk-based perfumes will work better.

2.     Match the scent with personality

Perfume preferences can often reflect personalities, so they take your recipient’s traits into consideration.

Introverted personalities that wear light fragrances may not like rich and musky scents, so bearing this in mind will help to point you in the right direction.

3.     Take inspiration from a memory

Perfumes can be easily associated with memories, and if you have a favourite one in mind, choosing a scent inspired by it can add a personal touch and additional layer of thought.

4.     Make your own fragrance

Can’t quite find what you’re looking for? Try making your own perfume with the help of professionals or gift a custom perfume experience to the recipient.

This can provide a unique opportunity to make a perfume you can’t find anywhere else.

Steve Brownett-Gale of Lifestyle Packaging commented on the findings:

“Perfume is a perfect gift for Valentine’s Day, and finding the right scent can be tricky, but knowing what is popular can narrow down your choices and help you make the best decision for the special someone in your life, whether that’s a partner, friend, or yourself.

“Fragrances have a powerful effect on our olfactory system by evoking memories, and gifting a perfume that smells like a treasured shared memory can be a great way to show you care.”

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