Smell it like Beckham: celebrity scents lure UK men

Fri Dec 17, 2010 2:41am EST
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - British and Italian men will be hoping to catch a whiff of celebrity this Christmas, according to a survey released on Friday.

Interest in celebrity fragrances has tripled among British men in the last three years and is second only to Italian men across Europe, the survey of 1,000 people in Europe released by consumer research consultants Mintel said.

Six percent of British men own a fragrance backed by a celebrity such as soccer player David Beckham compared to two percent in 2007 and 16 percent of British women.

Three quarters of British men receive fragrance at Christmas and it is British fathers, in particular those with children under five, who are the most likely to own a celebrity scent.

"Men are aware of the ability of scent to boost self-image and enhance confidence -- an important factor when job security and rising unemployment are issues -- and the increase of interest in male celebrity fragrances is reflective of this and the current marketplace," Mintel Senior European Beauty Analyst Vivienne Rudd said in a statement.

The men's fragrance market has continued to grow despite the global financial crisis, albeit at a slower pace.

Last year British men sprayed on 388 million pounds ($605 million) worth of the stuff and by the end of this year, sales of men's fragrances are set to reach almost 400 million pounds, Mintel said.

British men are only beaten by their Italian counterparts in their desire to buy celebrity fragrances. Across the big five European countries, eight percent of Italian men own celebrity fragrance compared with six percent in Spain and just four percent in France and Germany.

Italian men are also the most eager to please their partners, with over 22 percent of them saying they wear a fragrance they know their partner likes, closely followed by Spanish men (21 percent), German men (20) and French men (19), leaving British men trailing behind at 18 percent.

However, British men lead the way in the amount of fragrances they own, with six percent of men in Britain owning between six and 10 bottles compared with four percent in Germany and Italy and three percent in France and Spain.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato; Editing by Steve Addison)

<p>British soccer player David Beckham speaks to the media during a visit to the main Olympic stadium, in London November 29, 2010. REUTERS/Matt Dunham/Pool</p>