Scent will also conjure time. The Firmenich EmotiClaimTM research reveals specific scents and benefits tied to times of day, so fragrance can be used like an alarm clock or a turndown service at night. In the Firmenich EmotiOn programme, which examines the emotional benefits consumers seek from fragrance, people talk about emotions and scent in language that echoes technology: desiring fragrances that help you turn on/off, wake up, restart or shut down.
Scent will place you at a scene – something that could be crucial in news or storytelling. It creates visceral, physical reactions missing from some of our political discourse. If we could smell a burning rainforest, would we care more?
Scent will augment our personal relationships. An often-cited ‘sweaty T-shirt study’ reveals scent as a biological turn-on or turn-off (source: The New York Times). Smell plays such a large part in courtship that its place on dating apps is just waiting to be realised. Swiping left or right could be decided by scent instead of sight.
Indeed, fragrance creates attachment. This points to companies creating your olfactive 'fingerprint' – or that of your loved one or childhood home – to drive connection or nostalgia. Initial studies by Columbia University reveal a possibility that smell tests could diagnose dementia, and scent could help soothe mood changes in people with Alzheimer’s. Consider how scent could evolve from the beauty and wellbeing landscape to become a certified medical aid.
The future of fragrance is feeling. It is the combination of the physical and the emotional, the functional and the captivating. Tomorrow’s premium fragrance market will begin to tie scent to specific times, spaces and energies, making the invisible visible, the sensitive sensory and the magical real. As we re-emerge into the world, let’s remember the power of scent to help us all get back in touch.
Justin Welch is marketing and creative director at Firmenich and the director of Mind Nose & Matter, the company's annual examination of global sociocultural trends translated into fine fragrances.
Sign up to one of our subscription packages and get unlimited access to a hive of insights - from microtrends and macro trends to market reports, daily news, research across eight industry sectors and much more.
You can also learn more about the future beauty and wellness landscapes at our upcoming Beauty, Health & Wellness Futures online event on 17 June.