7 Reasons Why Creed Cologne & Perfumes are so Expensive

A Creed perfume costs around $300 to 350 for a 100 ml bottle.

That’s quite a bit of money to ask for a perfume, even a quality one, and this raises the question of why Creed fragrances, perfumes and colognes are so expensive.

Perhaps the next most important question is, are they even worth the price? If not, what alternatives should you consider?

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Manufacturing a perfume bottle is dirt cheap

A Creed perfume and cologne often costs anywhere between $300 to 500, depending on seasonal promotions, country & local taxes, limited editions etc.

You would expect that manufacturing costs would make a large part of the final price, but that’s not the case.

A $100 perfume usually costs between $5-10 to manufacture at most.

Out of this, the bottle, spray mechanism and packaging is often half the cost, with the actual “juice” making up the other half.

In the case of Creed fragrances, production cost is at most double that, so a $300+ bottle of Aventus costs around $10-20 to manufacture.

Creed lists the ingredients it uses in fragrances, and all of them are standard, highly available ingredients that cost pennies to purchase in bulk such as: alcohol (80% or more of a perfume bottle is alcohol) and various other synthetic chemicals like ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, limonene, cinnamal etc.

To give you an idea, each of the chemicals listed above cost between $10-20 per liter. However perfume houses like Creed buy in bulk so they can negotiate even lower prices.

Finally, a single liter of synthetic chemicals is enough to manufacture hundreds of Creed 100 ml perfume bottles.

Marketing and brand power

Marketing and Creed’s brand story are the biggest reasons why Creed colognes and perfumes cost so much.

However, a closer inspection reveals there’s something that doesn’t smell right about Creed’s origin story.

As context, Creed claims it was founded over 250 years ago in the 1760 by a certain James Henry Creed, a London tailor.

Between 1850-1900, the House of Creed claims it became a perfume supplier for famous historical figures such as Queen Victoria and French Empress Eugenie.

The only problem with this is that there are absolutely no historical records of Creed perfumes even existing at the time, let alone being used by high profile historical figures.

In fact, all evidence indicates that Creed’s first perfumes appeared in the 1970’s, with Green Irish Tweet being their first breakout hit.

By comparison, you have Farina, the perfume house that actually invented Eau de Cologne, and is even older than Creed since it was founded in 1709.

Unlike Creed however, Farina has an incredibly thorough and complete archive of the company’s history, which goes back to the very first perfumes it made more than 300 years ago, and even prove Farina invented Eau de Cologne.

So is Creed’s origin story complete bogus? Well, no. Creed products have in fact existed for hundreds of years, however most of these were clothes. They are even present in museums.

The most likely version is that Creed was for hundreds of year a very capable and reputable tailoring house, and only branched into perfumes in the late 1970’s.

However, they tried to “borrow” some of the years Creed spent as a tailoring house and make it seem they did perfumes on the side too.

Aspirational product and status symbol

There is a concept in economics called Veblen goods. These are products that become more desirable the more expensive they are.

In other words, the main reasons people buy them is because they are expensive.

Examples of Veblen goods include luxury cars such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, clothes from Louis Vuitton etc.

People want these products more as status symbols, rather than the actual quality of the product itself.

Creed perfumes are by all definitions Veblen goods.

They are good products to be fair, but there countless other perfumes in the $50-100 range that smell as good as Creed perfumes and have identical or better performance.

However, people buy Creeds because of the price tags. They want to wear a perfume that few or no other people own or can afford to own, and this type of exclusivity costs extra money.

Ironically though, Creed perfumes sell so well that the company has decided to raise prices for their perfumes, otherwise they’ll become too common and risk hurting the luxurious feel of the brand.

3 year price history of a Creed Aventus perfume

Another reason Creed can afford to increase prices is that fragrances are often extremely personal. People very often integrate a certain perfume into their identity.

So when they finish a bottle of perfume, many can’t just switch to another brand since it isn’t “them” and because of this they’re willing to pay a premium to retain this sense of identity.

Creed made innovative, quality perfumes

Seinfeld was one of most successful and innovative TV series ever made, so much so it created a huge number of TV series that copied everything that made Seinfeld such a hit.

For a while, most shows on TV were Seinfeld clones, which led to the “Seinfeld is unfunny” phenomenon.

Basically, people got so used to Seinfeld clones and jokes, they started seeing Seinfeld itself as “unfunny, boring and repetitive”, even though Seinfeld was the origin point of it all.

A similar thing has happened to Creed.

In the 1980’s Creed released some of it’s most famous perfumes such as Green Irish Tweed, Bois du Portugal, Orange Spice and more.

These perfumes were huge commercial hits because they had innovative, new scents that simply weren’t available at the time.

This success didn’t go unnoticed, and hundreds of Creed clones have popped up, most of them with similar scents.

As a result, many of Creed’s current perfumes will feel common, boring or repetitive since they’ve been copied so much.

However, that doesn’t really change the fact that Creed introduced many of these scents in the first place, and so they still carry the price tag of being “the original thing”.

Perfumes are a brutally competitive business

Starting a perfume business is surprisingly easy and inexpensive.

The ingredients for making the actual “juice” are relatively affordable, and learning how to combine them takes some skill, but it’s something that can be learned by many people.

This creates a low barrier to entry in the industry. Often times $100,000 to 200,000 is enough to start an indie perfume line.

The other side of the coin is that a successful perfume can become a blockbuster seller with $100 million+ in sales every year, such as Chanel No. 5 or YSL Black Opium.

Because of this, there is a huge amount of competition in the fragrance space with small players eating away at the “niche” end of the market, and big brands like Dior or Yves Saint Lauren dropping $50-100 million marketing campaigns trying to get a new perfume line off the ground for the mainstream segment.

The end result is a brutally competitive, winner-takes-all industry where most perfumes fail to make their money back.

This incentivizes perfume houses and fashion brands to raise prices for their successful perfumes and make as much money as possible from them before they drop-off in popularity or until they have a new blockbuster on their hands.

Alternatives to Creed perfumes

While Creed is one of the more famous niche & luxury perfume houses, it isn’t the only one. There are many other perfume houses that are about as old Creed, have their own rich, distinctive scents but often come at noticeably lower prices.

Guerlain

Guerlain is a French perfume house that was founded in 1828 and was ran by the Guerlain family until the year 1994, when it was bought by the fashion giant LVMH (the company that owns Louis Vuitton).

In terms of prices, most Guerlain fragrances (eau de toilette and eau de parfum), cost around $100 to 150 per 90 ml / 3 fl. oz. This compares pretty favorably with Creed’s pricing, which sits at around $300-350 for 100 ml / 3.3 fl. oz.

Kurkdjian

Kurkdjian is the perfume house created by French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. It is priced about as much as Creed, but the brand comes with its own distinctive notes and scents.

Montblanc

Montblanc is a German luxury goods company, and offers a wide variety of products across multiple categories such as: pens, leather clothing accessories, watches, bags and of course perfumes.

Their perfume line is surprisingly good, and in 2019 launched perhaps one of their best perfumes to date: the Montblanc Explorer.

In terms of pricing, Montblanc perfumes come in at around $100-120 for a 100 ml eau de parfum bottle.

Farina

Farina perfume house was founded in 1709, making it one of the oldest (if not the oldest) perfume houses in the world.

The company hails from the German city of Cologne, and even invented a new type of perfume called eau de Cologne, which has a lower concentration of perfume, at around 3-5%.

Its eau de toilettes are priced at around $100-150 per 100 ml / 3.3 fl. oz.