In 2024, Your House Is Going To Smell Good—Really Good
And it’s going to make you feel good, too.
In 2024, the crisp and uplifting aroma of walking into a luxury hotel won’t just be reserved for vacation, nor will the peaceful scent of a spa be reserved for a self-care special occasion. That’s because the home fragrance market is entering its quiet luxury era. While it’s not a new concept to use scented home products like dish soaps, candles, diffusers, laundry detergents, and the like, the offerings are certainly evolving and growing more pervasive in terms of transportive, mood-boosting, and personalization capabilities. And the overall category is rising fast: A November 2023 Market Report predicts the global home fragrance market to reach $19.4 billion by 2030, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 percent starting this year.
According to Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH, experimental psychologist and scent researcher, one reason for the growing interest in elevating one’s home fragrance is the increased time at home many spent during the pandemic. “People were interested in bringing scents into their homes, and changing them on a fairly regular basis,” says Dr. Dalton, who has spent her career studying the relationship between smell and cognitive and emotional processes.
Fragrance brand DedCool, which launched in 2016 and previously specialized solely in personal scent, expanded into the home fragrance market in the spring of 2023, launching a collection of laundry detergents, dryer sheets, linen sprays, and candles with sophisticated fragrance notes and ingredients (think clementine and amber rather than your standard “fresh linen”). DedCool founder Carina Chaz says the new home product line now makes up roughly 30 to 40 percent of the company’s revenue, thanks in part to the brand’s successful collaboration this year with hair-care brand Ouai on scented dryer sheets and laundry detergent. Chaz says the company has enjoyed a 136 percent total revenue increase since the beginning of 2023, and in 2024, anticipates a year-over-year revenue growth rate of more than 250 percent.
“The home fragrance category has definitely been booming for the past few years,” says Greta Pagel, fragrance director of Illume, a home and personal fragrance brand owned by Regent Holdings Company that’s been around since the early 2000s, and Good Chemistry, a more affordable sister brand that launched in 2018 as a Target exclusive. Pagel says that Illume experienced a 45 percent sales growth year over year, following its June 2022 collection expansion into refillable, focus-boosting candles and diffusers. She adds that Good Chemistry’s customer retention has grown alongside its expansion into Walmart, Whole Foods, and H.E.B., in addition to Target; the returning customer rate is up nearly 30 percent from 2022.
Pagel attributes the growth of both Illume and Good Chemistry to a consumer interest in cultivating a peaceful, relaxing, and pleasant environment through scent that’s distinct from outside environments, like the office. This isn’t just wishful thinking: Dr. Dalton says our olfactory systems (aka our nose) and brains are closely linked, and research shows that certain smells can affect people’s mood to make them calmer, or more energized.
As such, fragrance businesses have doubled down on creating mood-enhancing scents specifically crafted to evoke certain emotions. In August 2023, Febreze unveiled its new Mood Collection of AIR Mists after its consumer research found buyers were specifically seeking scent as a means to boost their mood. Aromatherapy company Aura Cacia launched its Air Care Blends line of essential oils, rooms sprays, and toilet sprays this year due in part to consumer research that demonstrated more customers wanted to address their mental well-being and indoor air quality through home fragrance products. Laura Kuykendall, senior vice president of marketing, says the collection will be available in more retailers come spring of 2024.
Home cleaning product brand Safely, co-founded by Kris Jenner and Green Seal-certified for meeting high environmental, health, and performance standards, has played with the relationship between emotion and smell since its founding in 2021. Its three hallmark scents, released in 2022—Calm, Rise, Bright—aim to evoke positive moods from the person using the brand’s dish liquids, laundry detergents, and disinfectants. (The Calm scent, for example, uses lavender; Bright uses energizing citrus notes.) Safely president Jelina Saliu says the brand’s intention is to make cleaning more of a joyous act of self care through scent. For example, “with our detergent, we developed it so that the scents stick. We were able to build this formula to last the washing, rinsing, and drying cycle, so that when you finally wear your clothes, all you're smelling is that yummy-smelling detergent, says Saliu. The brand continues grew at triple-digit rates this year, thanks largely to its laundry product.
Safely president Jelina Saliu says the brand’s intention is to make cleaning more of a joyous act of self care through scent.
Mental well-being through fragrance will be a theme in forthcoming product launches, too. According to Carol Han Pyle, founder of the sustainable candle company Nette, several of the brand’s soon-to-be-announced 2024 launches “will be scientifically backed to have an effect on human emotion, like boosting feelings of joy or confidence or relaxation.” Similarly, Pura, a fragrance brand originally founded in 2014 that sells a wall plug-in diffuser you can control with your smartphone, says it plans to release a new wellness-focused scent line that’s specifically formulated to elevate the user’s mood. “We're making fragrances that scientifically improve your well-being and your mental health, so we’re really excited for that launch soon,” teases Pura’s personal relations and brand manager Gabby Wahlin.
Scent and sound can transport you to a different world, and apart from self care, escapism through scent continues to be a common thread among home fragrance brands. “You know, a fragrance is a pretty simple way to make you feel like you're in a different environment. It's a pretty cheap way to take a vacation,” says Dr. Dalton.
Luxury lifestyle and travel brand Assouline launched a nine-product Travel from Home collection in May, including scents inspired by Ibiza, Mykonos, and Tulum. In October, Homedics launched SereneScent, a diffuser fragrance oil line that “is designed to transport consumers on a sensory journey to luxury destinations worldwide,” says Daniel Kaufman, head of corporate strategy at Homedics' parent company FKA Brands. The line’s first collection of fragrance oils, named Getaway, features aromas inspired by some of the most popular travel destinations in the world, including scents like Tokyo Tea, Amalfi Bliss, and Maldives Escape.
This theme of scent transportation inspired actor and entrepreneur Hilary Duff’s initial launch of home scents for her fragrance plug-in device brand Below 60°, which launched in November. Duff, chief brand director of the company, says one of the brand’s three initial scents—named Vanilla Buys a Timeshare in Paradise—aims to be transportive to a relaxing, tropical island getaway reminiscent of the annual Hawaii trips she used to take with her son, Luca Cruz. “[The scent] holds a lot of memories,” says Duff.
We're making fragrances that scientifically improve your well-being and your mental health.Gabby Wahlin, personal relations and brand manager, Pura
Some brands have also begun exploring the relationship between identity and smell. The idea of a signature scent is hardly new; but translating our individual personalities to the scent of our home is quite novel. Lindsay Droz and Kristi Lord launched home-care brand L’Avant Collective in December 2020 with the intention to put forth light, multi-dimensional signature home scents that wouldn't clash with personal perfumes. Since its launch, sales for L’Avant Collective have doubled year-over-year, positioning the company to surpass the home cleaning industry standard compound annual growth rate of 6.6 percent this year. Both Lord and Droz anticipate sustained growth into and beyond 2024 as the company prepares for new brand collaborations and laundry product launches next year.
How we’ll enjoy home scents is evolving, too, thanks to recent technology innovations of diffusers and plug-ins. In September, home fragrance company Aroma360 launched its Wireless Pro scent diffuser, which uses cold air diffusion instead of heat or water to distribute scent at up to 600 square feet. (The company is currently seeking a patent for its new technology.) Meanwhile, Pura launched the latest version of its app-enabled and controlled smart fragrance diffuser (the Pura 4) in August, adding on an “adaptive fusion” feature that adjusts fragrance distribution based on room temperature as well as existing user temperatures to ensure scents last longer. “It's been very important from the beginning to have something that is moving fragrance forward, especially because we are a smart technology company,” shares Wahlin.
Similarly, Homedic’s new SereneScent fragrance diffusers are setting new standards for fragrance delivery and lifespan. “This diffuser is equipped with technology to deliver a waterless, long-lasting, evenly distributed aroma with no residue, dispersing fragrance for up to 30 days without replenishing the fragrance oil,” says Kaufman, who explains that the device uses filtered air rather than water or heat, to move with a space’s natural airflow.
In 2024, transportive and bespoke home fragrance is projected to continue wafting widely, with new scent ideations and fragrance delivery methods hitting the market. As more home-care brands experiment with scent profiles and play with the emotive power of fragrance, we’ll no longer have to hypothetically stop and smell the roses—or whatever else makes you feel exactly how you want. We’ve got a candle (or two, or three) for that.
- Sowndhararajan, Kandhasamy, and Songmun Kim. “Influence of Fragrances on Human Psychophysiological Activity: With Special Reference to Human Electroencephalographic Response.” Scientia pharmaceutica vol. 84,4 724-751. 29 Nov. 2016, doi:10.3390/scipharm84040724