Consumers demand a more fragrant brand experience, Ambius Premium Scenting research shows


Ambius Premium Scenting has revealed new research which reinforces the importance of scenting and the multi-sensory experience to consumers today. Carried out by independent market research agency ICM, the research found over half of consumers say they love their favourite stores due to its ambience – placing multi-sensory cues such as design, fragrance, lighting and music above good service from friendly staff.

For the retail and hospitality sectors, the research showed an especially high demand for a more fragrant experience. Three out of four people (74%) have been impulsively drawn into a store by a smell, and a considerable 90% of consumers would either walk out of a store or speed up their browsing if they didn’t like the smell inside it. Similarly, in a hospitality environment, 77% of consumers said a pleasant smell in a hotel would have a positive impact on them, and 43% said they would regret or reconsider checking into a hotel if they noticed an overpowering smell.

Professor Charles Spence MA PhD, Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, said: “As consumers, our brains are constantly monitoring the inputs from each and every one of our senses in order to make sense of the world around us. There is a growing neuroscience understanding today, of the impact of scent on customer experiences. New technologies around effective scent dispersal means there has never been a better time for hotels and stores to consider developing their brand through the use of scent and other multi-sensory marketing strategies. It is, however, important to remember that harmony is key – the right scent should correspond with its surroundings and be congruent with our other senses. Based on my own research in this area, I am convinced of scent’s role as a powerful means of communication with one’s customers no matter what the business.”

The research found smell is the top rated stimuli for triggering a memory or feeling (73%), highlighting the positive impact it can play in creating a connection between a brand and consumer. As businesses focus on how to evolve their models to attract more customers and retain them both online and in a physical environment, the new research demonstrates the significant role scenting can play.

Christophe Laudamiel, master perfumer for PremiumScenting with AirQ, said: “Our sense of smell is as important a tool as our vision for informing us about our surroundings. We use it to make crucial judgements about a space, its people, and merchandise even if we don’t always realise we’re doing so. Scent is uniquely three dimensional and has the ability to holistically tie all other design elements together and infuse soul into a space, in a discreet or memorable way. It is therefore no surprise that scentscaping is increasingly being used in the retail and hospitality industries to enhance consumer feelings of trust, relaxation or their enjoyment of brand quality.  This study is a reminder of how scent design should not be ignored by any brand that cares about its employees and consumers – and their overall experience.”


Gareth Cowmeadow, scenting specialist at Ambius, said “Our research highlights the importance of scent marketing for a business operating in the retail and hospitality sectors. A pleasant scent can greatly increase footfall to a store, encouraging people to linger for longer; while in a hotel it can encourage more guests to stay for extended periods of time. Appealing to consumers is tough with brands competing for every single sale. Therefore when considering the design and fit out of a retail store or hotel, scenting should not be an afterthought, but rather a key consideration. It’s in the interests of businesses to use every tool at their disposal to gain higher amounts of customers, while enhancing brand experience and association.”