Why does fragrance sampling make scents?

I saw a really original fragrance sample on Twitter today. It was a Swarovski crystal studded sheath housing a fragrance vial, attached to a thong cord to hang round your neck. It’s sexy, yet highly functional, but I suspect that not many fragrance companies will be taking Rexam, the manufacturer, up on it.

You would have thought that with so many fragrances launching each year {1,200 globally, according to Fragrances of the World® 2012}, companies would be keen to use samples to get customers to try theirs. Not so. If you go into a perfumery department of a high street store, you’d be lucky to find a tester strip if you want to try out a new fragrance, let alone a sample to take home and evaluate properly. After all, isn’t that what you’re meant to do? See how a fragrance settles on the skin after a few hours.

As a consumer, I’d like to see more brands hand out samples. As a beauty insider, I know that it makes sound commercial sense to do so. I accept that only brands with big budgets can afford something as original as the Swarovski sample pendant, but there are plenty of smart alternatives that don’t cost the earth. In today’s tough economic climate, fragrance companies need to realise that samples can deliver profitable results.