New Year's Resolutions: What Should Premium Beauty Do to make 2014 Great?

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It's Christmas!

We hope you're having a good one.

I don't need to tell you that this is an important time of year for premium beauty, especially fine fragrance. The industry has done a good job educating the market to buy all year around but December remains make or break month.

So who will be the winners and the losers in 2013?

I'm going to stick my neck out. Without having seen this year's Christmas sales figures for Dior J'Adore, Viktor & Rolff and Chanel fragrances yet, I can safely predict that they will be topping the league tables this year.

Why?

To me it's obvious. It's all about coffrets.

Step into any department store and just like every Christmas, the shops have been full of cheap-looking boxed sets selling at premium prices.

The negative impact on luxury fragrance cannot be measured, but it certainly shouldn't be underestimated.

Just think about the person receiving a large unwieldy box that comes in a plastic sleeve and contains a fragrance, body lotion/shower gel.

Once they've removed all the packaging and wondered how on earth to recycle it, the product seems rather small and a bit disappointing.

And what are they meant to do with the fragrance bottle, which we've always been told we should keep in its box to keep out of the light so that it doesn't spoil?

If that had been me, I'd be wishing that I'd been given just the fragrance in its luxurious box to keep on my dressing table.

Am I the only one who thinks that way?

It's not an easy decision to step away from coffrets and rely on products to sell themselves at Christmas but that's what Chanel has done all these years.

They've resisted the temptation to package their fragrances in standardised gift boxes and offered customers empty luxury boxes which are filled with products of their choice, rather than foisting unwanted products onto them.Then there's Dior. It used to sell as many coffrets as the next brand but took the tough decision five years ago to move away from this strategy and focus instead on the beauty of the fragrance itself.

It's a strategy that has ensured the long-term success of J'Adore as a leading fragrance and resulted in the focus being brought back onto the brand.We've tracked J'Adore's progress over past Premium Market Reports and witnessed its rise up the rankings to as high as third most bought fragrance in 2011.

Can it be just a coincidence that Calvin Klein Euphoria and Emporio Diamonds, both heavily reliant on pre-Christmas coffrets, have slipped out of the top ten rankings?

Meanwhile, last week in Debenhams, my eye was drawn to the stunning displays for Viktor & Rolff Flowerbomb.

The pink boxes were designed to look as if they've been wrapped up with black ribbon and finished off with a black V&R seal. They were all placed at angles to each other, almost shouting to the customer: "Pick me up!"

So it can be done, but coffrets are too often the easy option where little thought has been given to the brand.In these examples I've given, the emphasis has been on demonstrating the core values of the brand and finding ways of expressing them in a way that will generate desire.It won't be easy and most of all it will require courage. Courage to break free from coffrets and believe in the beauty of your product and its ability to create an impact without unnecessary props.We'll find out if I'm right in March with the launch of next year's Premium Market Report.

Until then perhaps we can resolve to make 2014 the year that we put the premium back into beauty.Happy Christmas and here's to a successful New Year.

We'd love to hear your resolutions for 2014. Tell us what they are in the comment box below.