Etude PRS In Vivo Les Français et les odeurs

People’s relationship to scents in France

85% of people in France use interior fragrances

This was a key finding of the survey Scentys commissioned from marketing research firm PRS In Vivo (a BVA Group company) on people’s relationship to scents in France.

Does the use of interior fragrances depend on where people live? Do some scents have more appeal than others? Are we all drawn to the same scents, and for the same reasons? How does a fragrant atmosphere affect us?

Interior fragrance is increasingly important for city dwellers

In addition to pure deodorization benefits, 75% of respondents said they use interior fragrances to create an atmosphere that is unique to them, one that is comforting and relaxing.

While half of respondents said their goal was to cover up odors from the kitchen, tobacco or pets, the results also showed a growing desire to use interior fragrances simply for the pleasure of it. This trend was especially strong among city dwellers, with interior fragrance use reported among 44% of those living in cities with a population of more than 100,000 compared with 36% in rural areas.

The survey showed a similar desire when it comes to people’s cars, a private space close to home, where they want to feel comfortable: 81% of respondents said they use an interior fragrance in their vehicle to create a sense of wellbeing.

Tastes and scents

The responses given to the questions “Are you sensitive to the scents around you?” and “What are your favorite scents” revealed two dominant themes.

A desire to get back to nature and a healthier environment

Fifty-four percent of respondents spontaneously said they preferred “natural scents” like freshly cut grass or the smell of the ocean or rain, along with plant-related scents like flowers, lavender and roses. The underlying desire is clearly to get back to nature and be in a healthier environment.

A difference between genders when it comes to scents

Survey responses also suggested that people’s experiences with scents are shaped in part by their gender. Whether reflecting lifestyles or past experiences, men and women have different sensitivities:

85% of women say they pay attention to scents, compared with 73% of men. Male respondents showed a preference for food-related scents, including roast meat, crepes, and herbs. Women also showed appreciation for these, but in lower numbers: 30% versus 54% among men.

Women were more responsive to descriptions that include adjectives and refer to the imagination, childhood memories, seasons… suggesting that their relationship to scents is more personal.

The French are increasingly sensitive to odors

Fifty percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 use an interior fragrance, compared with 39% of those 35 and older. For the former, the reasons are more emotional than functional: it is more about wanting to relax than to have their space seem fresh and clean.

The bottom line: Olfactory experiences are a source of happiness

Our sense of smell is quite complex. Everyone perceives scents differently, depending on our experiences and sensitivities. But beyond the simple, rational desire to create an impression of cleanliness, there is no denying that nice scents bring us feelings of pleasure and serenity, and help us appreciate the present moment. The bottom line is that a pleasant fragrance is an asset in every way!


Sample of 1,000 people representative of the French population: 52% women, 48% men; 26% in the 18-34 age bracket, 34% aged 35-54, 40% 55 or older.

Know more avout PRS In Vivo (a BVA Group company)

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