Here at FirstNerve we love data. In the past, we’ve data-mined Google Trends to explore various aspects of perfume. When she signed a new multi-year fragrance deal in 2010, we asked “Is Paris Hilton played out?” The answer, based on the volume of web searches for “Paris Hilton + perfume,” was yes.
Google web search data also revealed precise seasonal peaks in perfume interest. There is a huge spike just before Christmas, followed by a tiny but reliable peak before Valentine’s Day. And there is another peak for Mother’s Day, the exact date of which varies from country to country.
We’ve mused before about the health of the smelly blogosphere and it occurred to us that it was time to take another look at the numbers.
So we fired up Google Trends and looked at search volume for “perfume.” Here are the U.S. data from 2004 to present:
The nine big spikes correspond to Christmas-time searches from 2004 through 2012. There are two little blips after each Christmas spike: the first is Valentine’s Day and the second is Mother’s Day. After recession-related decreases in 2009 and 2010, Christmas-time volume picked up noticeably in the past two years.
How does interest in perfume contrast with other luxury good searches? The chart below adds “wine” and “jewelry” to the mix. Wine has the biggest volume and also shows the post-recession dip and recent recovery at Christmas-time. There is a similar pattern for jewelry. (Note the pronounced Valentine’s Day peak.)
Now let’s turn to the blogosphere. This chart shows search volume for “perfume review,” a concept of recent vintage.
The big peaks once again correspond to high Christmas-time search volume. “Perfume review” search volume began rising dramatically in 2009 and shows no sign of slowing down. With rising search volume, Valentine’s and Mother’s Day blips are now clearly visible.
What does this mean? It means that more and more people are turning to online fragrance reviews as they do their seasonal perfume shopping. That’s testimony to the growing influence of fragrance bloggers.
UPDATE February 12, 2013
Commenter Persolaise asks for more data. (Our kind of nerd!) We’re happy to oblige. Here’s how “perfume review” stacks up against “wine review” and “jewelry review”.
Perfume review searches on Google have been climbing steadily and in 2012 caught up and passed wine review searches. Take that, wine snobs!