Scent booster in our daily life
Fast fashion has a surprising side effect: as consumers own more clothes and wear each item less frequently, they’re missing out on the clean-laundry smell. Plus, as the line between workwear and workout-wear blurs, it becomes increasingly important to make sure clothes stay fresh for longer.
Scent boosters are a product that's added to regular laundry loads to improve clean clothes' smells and make the smell last longer. Like many other cleaning products, it's sold partly by creating rituals—manufacturers like Downy and Arm & Hammer want to make it a regular part of the laundry experience, with a smell-driven cue at the end showing that the job is complete.
Habits are a powerful driver for the consumption of cleaning products. Procter & Gamble originally sold Febreze as a way to get rid of bad smells, but after extensive market research, they discovered that people tend to acclimate to smells. Instead, they started advertising it by showing Febreze as a sort of end-of-cleaning ritual—the last thing someone did that marked the task as done–which propelled the product to substantially higher sales.
Clothing worn less frequently
One driver of scent boosters’ popularity is the growth of fast fashion. People who buy fast fashion tend to have larger wardrobes, meaning less frequent wear for each article of clothing. While this means that clothes last longer, it means that their clothes are less likely to be freshly-washed. For anyone who is used to the smell of newly-cleaned clothes, this means fast fashion spending patterns are actually taking away a key part of how those consumers present themselves in person. Scent boosters help mitigate this. Some users take it even further, by washing their clothes with scent booster and then vacuum-bagging them to keep the smell fresh.
A hidden sales channel for spreading these types of products is the shared laundry room. This can help laundry products spread fast for apartment dwellers, but homeowners are harder to reach. One strategy companies are using is to market to future homeowners in what is probably the first place where they do their own laundry and the last place they'll have shared laundry: college dorms, where some CPG marketers distribute free samples to get the next generation of buyers started.