Perfume best sellers in 2018 and trends for 2019

A review of the best-selling perfumes of 2018 reveals some interesting trends. Firstly, best-selling does not necessarily equate highest-rated or most popular. Sales are influenced by reputation and age of a brand, and the price point (about $100 per unit). So, if you look at the best-selling perfumes on Amazon (the 4th largest retailer in the world after Walmart, Costco and the Kroger Company) you will see it is dominated by the classics, the greatest hits in perfumes from years past, continuing to today, and by perfumes costing less than $100. Amongst Amazon’s Top 100 Women’s Fragrances there is not one perfume costing more than $100. Amazon’s best sellers include perfumes that have been on the market for decades; the top seller, Versace’s Bright Crystal, is more than 13 years old and one of the “youngest” perfumes on the list.

Here are some of the familiar names:

  • Versace Bright Crystal by Gianni Versace (No. 1 seller) (created by Alberto Morillas in 2006)
  • Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds (created by Carlos Benaim in 1991)
  • Acqua Di Gio For Men by Giorgio Armani Eau De Toilette Spray (created by Alberto Morillas in 1996)
  • Beautiful Eau de Parfum by Estée Lauder (launched in 1985, created by Sophia Grojsman and Bernard Chant)
  • Pleasures Eau de Parfum by Estée Lauder (created in 1995 by Annie Buzantian and Alberto Morillas)
  • Cool Water for Men and Women by Davidoff (created by Pierre Bourdon in 1996)
  • Happy for Men and Women by Clinique (created in 1997 by Jean-Claude Delville and Rodrigo Flores-Roux)
  • Be Delicious by Donna Karan (launched in 2004, created by Maurice Roucel)
  • Stetson Original Cologne Spray by Stetson for Coty (launched in 1981)
  • Angel Eau De Parfum Spray by Mugler (launched in 1992, created by Olivier Cresp and Yves de Chirin)

Chances are that your mum, dad, grandpa or grandma wore one of the top 100 sellers. It tells you that the perfume market, much like the arts market, favours whatever is old and enduring (so long as it’s affordable).

There are, however, a number of new fragrances that have taken off and made the best-sellers lists for 2018.

These include new perfumes by established houses that are just about ubiquitous – name any of them and you will find them there – but in particular Tom Ford and Jo Malone London got multiple mentions.

Also included are new fragrances by independent boutique firms such as Byredo (launched in Sweden in 2006 by Ben Gorham) and Atelier Cologne (launched in 2010), and some odd but enduringly attractive creations like Geza Schoen’s Molecule 01 Escentric Molecules for Men and Women.

Frequent mentions in 2018 best seller lists

Here are the names that are recurring features on the 2018 best seller lists of major retailers and publications. In each instance the perfume is followed by the retailers and publications that listed it as a best seller during the second half of 2018.

  • Good Girl by Caroline Herrera ✓Cosmopolitan Magazine ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges (the perfume has a most amazing bottle shaped like a high-heeled shoe)
  • Jo Malone London Lupin & Patchouli Cologne ✓Cosmopolitan Magazine
  • Jo Malone London Mimosa & Cardamom Cologne ✓ ✓Nordstrom ✓Selfridges
  • Jo Malone London Willow & Amber Cologne ✓Vogue Magazine ✓Sephora
  • Jo Malone London English Pear  & Freesia Cologne ✓Amazon #63 ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges ✓Nordstrom
  • Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges ✓Nordstrom
  • Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges ✓Amazon #45 ✓Vogue Magazine ✓Nordstrom ✓Glamour Magazine ✓ Marie Claire Magazine
  • Oud Wood by Tom Ford ✓ ✓Sephora ✓Nordstrom
  • Fucking Fabulous by Tom Ford (yes, it really is called that)✓ ✓Cosmopolitan Magazine ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges ✓Neiman Marcus ✓Nordstrom
  • Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford ✓Sephora ✓Nordstrom
  • Vanille Fatale by Tom Ford ✓Cosmopolitan  Magazine ✓Marie Claire Magazine
  • Lost Cherry by Tom Ford ✓Sephora ✓Selfridges ✓Nordstrom ✓Glamour Magazine ✓Elle Magazine ✓Harper’s Bazaar Magazine ✓The Independent UK
  • Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf ✓Sephora ✓ ✓Nordstrom
  • Daisy Eau So Fresh by Marc Jacobs ✓Sephora ✓Cosmopolitan Magazine ✓

Simple flower and fruit combinations

A visible trend in the best seller lists was the popularity of perfumes with seemingly simple compositions of one or two dominant, naturally sourced elements, such as rose, or citrus. The colognes of Jo Malone London have names that indicate a simple but evocative combination of natural elements. Apart from the best sellers listed above, most of the other best-seller lists included at least one Jo Malone London cologne, like Cade & Cedarwood and Nettle & Wild Achillea, to name but a few.


Atelier Cologne perfumes (Photo from, 2016)

Similarly, Atelier Cologne had a hit in 2018 with their Pomélo Paradis Absolue Pure Perfume. Atelier Cologne has created colognes that have been merged from citrus and herbal notes in a strong concentration for a longer lasting effect. I have worn their Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue and it smelled like I had just bitten into a fresh, ripe orange. I smelled good enough to eat!

Ingeniously marketing memories

Another new and unusual range of perfumes that popped up quite often is Replica by French fashion house Maison Margiela Paris. Some of the more discerning, less commercial reviewers wrote highly of this range. Maison Margiela launched the Replica range in 2012, and each perfume in the range is marked with its provenance and period, and aims to stimulate the recollection in the wearers of specific images and memories, such as Music Festival, Sailing Day, By the Fireplace and At the Barber’s. They also have Replica Fantasies, a series of fragrances meant to depict typical dreams that people have, like Flying.

Sea-smelling fragrances are back

Sea or Water-smelling fragrances (clockwise from far left): Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau Intense, Alien Eau SublimeCoton by Ruby Brown for Simons, Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia, Serge Lutens L’Eau de Paille, Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure, Inis Energy of the Sea (Source:

Finally, there was a trend towards fresh, sea-and-beach-smelling fragrances, from Maison Margiela’s Replica Sailing Day and Replica Beach Walk, to Art de Parfum’s Sea Foam, Sel Marin Eau de Parfum by Heeley and Bobbi Brown’s Beach. Maybe this indicates a growing preference for clean, light, “healthy” outdoorsy smells, even “vegan” smells, rather than animalistic, heavy, complex smells.

Yes, these days “vegan”-certified perfumes are available to those who who are so selective, and these include the generally popular Sinner by Kat von D. (Katherine von Drachenberg), and the afore-mentioned best-sellers Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent and Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf.

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