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Dollars & scents.

CONSUMERS' concerns about their health and wellness have led to growth in a variety of product catego-ries--ranging from exercise machines to blood-pressure monitors, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and massagers. One other product segment that has emerged from wellness worries, although from a slightly different direction, is aromatherapy diffusers.

These products work by taking essential oils and diffusing their scents into the air. They appeal to consumers whose view of wellness goes beyond how much they weigh or how high their cholesterol or sugar is. Aromatherapy diffusers speak to those who are looking to control their stress levels and/or who see their spiritual well-being as important to their overall health.

The fact that this category is still relatively new on the market means, however, that it is still a somewhat small sliver of the wellness segment. 'Aromatherapy home products are still a new niche category for consumers and retailers," said Michael Jeansson, vice president of sales and marketing for Serene House USA. "Consumers and retailers who are interested in and understand the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils are very few, and therefore the market is very niche."

Serene House's aromatherapy diffuser line includes those that provide ultrasonic atomizing, such as the Blob; the Scent Pot; the Vulcan, which offers a music option that consists of an internal, 1 1-minute-long sound loop; the Duke, a car diffuser that plugs into the car's power outlet; and the YOYO, which fits into the palm of one's hand and can be placed in a suitcase, a pocket or a hand bag.

As niche as the category is at the moment, consumers are learning more about these products, according to Jeansson. "The growing trend for personal care and wellness is helping the awareness of these systems greatly" he said. "The growth has been steady for every year as our brand gains awareness, but so far only in specialty and online markets."

In addition, some manufacturers in the category are enjoying significant sales growth. Objecto, which offers a line of sleekly designed aromatherapy diffusers, has experienced sales growth of 50 percent a year in the three years since the line was launched on the U.S. market, according to Freeda Broker, Objecto's associate manager.

The Objecto line provides an added selling point aside from its health ben-efits--its design. The pieces are crafted in curved shapes and in small sizes, which give them an ornamental look. "Their design and simplicity of use have been key sales drivers for our products," Broker said.

The Objecto line consists of the H3 and H4 hybrid humidifiers, the H5 hybrid spiral humidifier, the H7 ultrasonic humidifier, the H9 tower hybrid humidifier and the T3 panel heater. Company literature said, "The easy-to-fill water tanks are antibacterial, and they automatically cease to operate when emptied. With both a timer mode and optional night-light feature, our luxury home appliances serve to fill all your practical needs and enhance your ambiance while complementing your aesthetic."

That aesthetic has enabled the Objecto line to establish a specific customer demographic. "These are in the high end of the category, for customers who are looking for a beautiful unit," Broker said.

Technology has become another draw for consumers of aromatherapy diffusers. This is apparent in the Lea "smart" aroma diffuser from the Stadler Form brand of Swizz Style. The Lea is a waterless and portable user designed with a USB wall charger. It has three "go-to" fragrances--"Refresh," "Relax" and "Revive"--which are combined oils in 10-millimeter bottles.

According to Julie Monroy, U.S. operations manager for Stadler Form, the Lea has enjoyed "explosive" growth in the market because "it solves a few big problems that other diffusers do not." There is the portability aspect because of the rechargeable USB battery, plus the waterless element--which means no need for constant refilling.

In addition, the Lea is made with an interval setting of from 10 to 20 minutes. "This is great because every time it turns on, you start to notice the smell again, which keeps the unit from overscenting," Monroy said.

Then there is the Lea's daylight mode, which, when active, turns the unit on automatically when a person turns on the lights in a room. "Lea will sense you are in the room and begin diffusing right away" Monroy said.

Products such as Serene House's collection, the Objeto line and the Lea are poised for even more growth as awareness for the benefits of aromatherapy become greater. "Essential oils help with stress relief, memory, dieting, illness. ..the list goes on and on," Monroy said.

Their appeal should stretch among various age groups as well. Monroy said, "The nice thing is that people of all ages can benefit from a diffuser, include children, adults, the elderly ... even pets."

Caption: Above: Stadler Form's Lea aromatherapy diffuser, from Swizz Style, is a "smart" product that shows that technology is important to this category.

Caption: A bove left: The Serene House Scent Pot. Growth in interest in wellness products is helping the diffuser category.
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Title Annotation:uses of aromatherapy diffusers
Author:Gill, David
Publication:HFN Home Furnishings News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2014
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