Top Selling Feminine Fragrances 2011 USA : Popular Perfumes


Top Selling Feminine Fragrances 2o12 France

Top Selling Perfumes USA : Popular Fragrances Spring 2012

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances for 2010 USA

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances for 2010 France

Top Selling Masculine Fragrances 2010 USA

Curious to see what sold well last year? Here are the top 20 best selling fragrances in the USA for the past year. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle was the number top seller, but note that the rest of the list is not organized by selling rank. In parentheses, I indicate the year of launch.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001)
The popularity of Coco Mademoiselle does not surprise me; it is a bold, memorable, distinctive perfume. It is also a high-quality perfume.  It has been the number one seller for several years in a row.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre (2010)
A twist on Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, but with a more sparkling fruit and red berry note. Even though Chance Eau Tendre is not very original, it is nicely done.

Clinique Happy (1997)
A trendsetting fruity-floral. It is a good choice for those who love effervescent citrusy-fruity notes paired with crisp florals and sheer woods.

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (2001)
Green apple and dry amber–a trendsetting fragrance with a great character.

Chanel No 5 (1921)
Iconic perfume! No further comment is needed. I am just glad to see it on the top-seller list.

Donna Karan Cashmere Mist (1994)
Cashmere Mist is an American classic at this point. It blends musks, woods and soft floral notes to achieve its tender, caressing impression.

Burberry Body (2011)
A floral oriental with green accents, Burberry Body is best described as inoffensive.

Estée Lauder Pleasures (1995)
It has been copied to death. Its green floral idea was used in everything, from body care to detergents, and still the original smells great. Next time you smell it, notice its beautiful natural rose note.

Estee Lauder Beautiful (1985)
To me, it smells of the 1980s. And it smells great.

Thierry Mugler Angel (1993)
When Angel was first launched it had more detractors than supporters in the industry. “It is not a real perfume, it is a flavor.” “It smells like caramel.” “It is vulgar.” Consumers also warmed up very slowly to this gourmand perfume. Clarins, the parent of Thierry Mugler Parfums, is certainly glad today that they supported the launch. How I wish that more companies were willing to take such risks today!

Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche (2010)
It plays by the rules, but it is a nice quality perfume.

Fendi Fan Di Fendi (2011)
A sophisticated fruity patchouli perfume a la Coco Mademoiselle.

Chanel Chance (2002)
A softer, fruitier take on Coco Mademoiselle.

Clinique Aromatics Elixir (1971)
A perfume legend! Seeing Aromatics Elixir on this list is such a pleasure.

Ralph Lauren Romance (1998)
A trendsetter for the “sexy clean” florals.

Christian Dior J’Adore (1999)
I love the original J’Adore, but today I just do not recognize it.

Taylor Swift Wonderstruck (2011) / Justin Bieber Someday (2011)
To be fair, Justin Bieber Someday is probably in a tie with Wonderstruck for a top 20 spot. Both fragrances were very successful this year.

Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude (2011)
A musky, soft take on the spicy woods of the original. Nicely crafted!

Estee Lauder Knowing (1988)
Big, bold and beautiful!

Prada Candy (2011)
A sheer, luminous gourmand.

Source: US department stores sales records, compiled from various publications over the course of the year. 



  • lovethescents: What surprises me most is Clinique Happy. It’s the only one that I find irritatingly shrill. Eventhough there are several there that I don’t wear, cue Angel, I still appreciate them. I guess I’m not hip! January 27, 2012 at 9:08am Reply

  • Victoria: I cannot make up my mind on Happy. On the one hand, it does have that bubbly and effervescent personality that I find tiring after a while. On another, it is nicely done, very nice quality perfume. That being said, my bottle is 5-6 years old or so. I haven't smelled it recently. January 27, 2012 at 9:16am Reply

  • Style Spy: Why is Keira Knightley trying to eat that perfume bottle? I’ve never thought she was very bright, but still…

    Mostly I think it’s good that Chanel sells so much of all those boring flankers and pretenders so that they have lots of money to keep producing the good stuff like No. 22 and Cuir de Russie and 31 rue Cambon (and No. 5, bien sur). January 27, 2012 at 9:43am Reply

  • Victoria: Exactly! I do not begrudge them Chance and Bleu, since I still can enjoy my Bois des Iles and No 19 and more.

    The ad is bizarre. My husband asked me the same thing when I was formatting the post yesterday–what is she doing with that bottle?    January 27, 2012 at 9:59am Reply

  • Susan: It perplexes me that the Justin Bieber is not on the list when we’ve heard so much about how his launch broke records at Macy’s.

    I am a bit surprised not to see Gucci Guilty on there. I guess it didn’t have a big lasting success after its 2010 launch. Also surprised to see that Fan di Fendi’s launch was so big. January 27, 2012 at 10:01am Reply

  • Victoria: Justin Bieber is there, tied with Wonderstruck. I just highlighted it, so that it is more visible. Those two were huge. Lovestruck is another big seller.
    New launches often make a splash when they are first introduced and then some peter out.
    It is not an infallible list, of course, just a glimpse into what did well. January 27, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

  • Shabbus: I’m pretty new to perfumista-hood, but I find it hard to believe that late year releases like Fan Di Fendi or Prada Candy could sell as many bottles as a product that was on the market for the entire year. Did Fan Di Fendi really outsell Miss Cherie Dior or Be Delicious? For the year? Really? January 27, 2012 at 10:41am Reply

  • Victoria: I know, it sounds strange, but it is usually the case with some new launches. The perfume house puts in a lot of money into supporting their brand in the first year–advertising, promotion, store events, etc. This draws the consumers in and the sales happen. Now, in the subsequent years, the house might shift its support to the new brands or create flankers.
    The way retail business is structured today prioritizes the fragrances that make a quick sell, rather than the classics, which are much slower to take off.

    However, I am a little surprised about Fan di Fendi myself, because I hardly saw much of it. Maybe, the records had a bias towards the second half of the year and the Christmas sales. January 27, 2012 at 10:55am Reply

  • Katie: Fan di Fendi was hugely promoted where I live! I was even tired of smelling it everywhere.
    I only wear Coco Mad from this list. January 27, 2012 at 11:11am Reply

  • Elisa: I remember wearing Happy occasionally in high school/college, mostly because my mom was always giving me the mini’s from GWP packages, but I really hate it now. There’s a certain accord in it that reminds me of diet soda. So yes, bubbly, but with a cloying, phony edge somehow. It may actually be a reform — it doesn’t smell quite like I remember. January 27, 2012 at 11:34am Reply

    • bluegardenia: happy smells cheap to me, and like stale unsmoked cigarettes. plasticky stale merit ultra lights or something like that. it’s incredible to me that it’s so popular. May 31, 2012 at 4:12am Reply

  • Victoria: I just smelled it at Saks, and you are right, there is a strange plastic like note that I do not remember smelling in Happy before. I now want to smell it next to my old Happy. Of course, maybe it is just the aging process. All of us mellow with age! 🙂 January 27, 2012 at 12:27pm Reply

  • Victoria: It must have been, because I just spotted it on the top seller list from Sephora. January 27, 2012 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Elisa: Yes! It has a plastic angle. I reviewed it a while back, and repeated sniffing of it made my brain hurt. January 27, 2012 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: LOL! Then you might feel so pity for me. I am smelling 5 different celebrity perfumes right now… January 27, 2012 at 12:55pm Reply

  • minette: odd, but i don’t smell anything from this list on anyone here (houston) – even my light blue-wearing colleague has stopped wearing it. i do smell the original sensuous, though (unfortunately). and thank god, i don’t smell cashmere mist anymore – it’s a headache and nausea in a bottle. never even heard of fan de fendi, and i read the blogs a lot! prada candy got lots of blog loving, so i do want to try it. and, i’m one of those who really liked angel from the get-go – i brought it home from france before its american launch, and have tortured many with it since then. 😉 in fact, it’s about the only one from this list that i have smelled on someone else in recent memory. January 27, 2012 at 2:41pm Reply

  • Rose D: Burberry Body? Really? Not that I have anything against it, but I would nevr buy an entire bottle.

    Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude is nice, but I would not buy this one either; simply because I own an almost full bottle of Les Grandes Pretresses Incas. They share a similar caramel-amber-vanilla drydown; but the second has a more interesting top.

    That being said I wear and adore all the Chanel listed, N°5 being my all time favourite! January 27, 2012 at 3:09pm Reply

  • Jenna: It’s so awesome to see Aromatics Elixir on this list. My mom wears that and Beautiful so I have a soft spot for them. Romance depresses me, it smells so bland but maybe that’s the whole point. January 27, 2012 at 3:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: I smell Angel, Light Blue, Coco Mademoiselle and Pleasures time to time. Chance Eau Tendre? Burberry Body? I cannot imagine being able to recognize them on anyone in the crowd. January 27, 2012 at 3:37pm Reply

  • Victoria: Chanel knows how to craft a best-seller! And I agree, No 5 is iconic. January 27, 2012 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: On the one hand, I find Romance interesting on a technical level–how its crystal clear floral accord is put together. On the other hand, I do not enjoy wearing it. It is too squeaky clean! As you say, maybe that’s the point–to appeal to as many people as possible. January 27, 2012 at 3:46pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Prada Candy slays me! I expected to dislike it- “candy” scents strike me as cheap and “Lolita”-like and not in a cerebral, literary way. But Prada Candy is warm, sexy inviting and youthful, but not in a cloying, childish way. It has an underlying sophistication, maybe like Lolita with high SAT scores! In any case, it is one of my favourite new launches for last year.

    Can’t say the rest of the list impressed me though- too mainstream and predictable- a lot of scents tailored for people who are afraid to make a personal statement. As far as I am concerned Clinique has never made a decent scent- I have used their skin care since high school and basically haven’t had a pimple in 300 years- and they make some of the best powders and foundations for women of color (quel shock!)- but their scents are hopelessly uninspired. Aromatics Elixir just stinks- Glade air freshener sprayed over land fill- and Clinique Happy just smells like Diet Mountain Dew or some other chemical laced fake citrus soda. Ugh.

    Estee Lauder’s Tuberose Gardenia rocks and rules! January 27, 2012 at 6:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: Prada Candy is one of my favorite new launches too. “Lolita with high SAT scores” is a great description for it.

    Poor Clinique! 🙂 January 28, 2012 at 9:15am Reply

  • Perfumefetish: I belive that Angel was first launched in 1992 not 1993 April 2, 2012 at 3:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: It launched in October of 1992 in France, but 1993 in the USA. So, you're right, I just decided to use the US date as my reference. April 2, 2012 at 3:48pm Reply

  • bluegardenia: nothing, and i really mean nothing, smells as toxic and sickening to me as angel. i rue the day it was ever created, and thank god i never notice anyone on the street wearing it anymore. for a while in the 90s it was all anyone wore, and i spent the decade gagging. amazing how subjective these things are. to me it smells like chemicals and windex. i wince at the thought! May 31, 2012 at 4:16am Reply

  • парфюми: I’m absolutely agree with you Victoria. Chanel knows how to craft perfumes which become a best seller and this article prove it. From all 20 perfumes, there have 5 different with brand Chanel. Its true that No 5 is classic iconic of perfume industry. About other perfumes I have Pleasures (Estee Lauder), Light Blue (D&G), Candy (Prada) and i can say that i love them.
    Interesting of me is why other big brands like Versace, Paco Rabanne and Calvin Klein didn’t have even one representative perfume? .. July 4, 2012 at 3:09am Reply

  • Style Starters: Hi,
    I found this page and your site helpful while searching for perfumes to buy. I just started a blog and I feature you and this page in my recent post.
    Thanks. October 17, 2012 at 8:05am Reply

  • Yvette Dawson: I am surprised to see Cerruti 1881 is not in this class. December 19, 2012 at 4:15am Reply

  • Laura Fisher: All of the perfumes on this list are run of the mill and oh so boring. If you want high quality and unique and divine scents go to and try a perfume called ” What we do in Paris is secret” expensive but well worth it and miles better than any Chanel. July 7, 2014 at 1:27pm Reply

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