Why Is Chanel Perfume So Expensive?

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Chanel has been a designer perfume powerhouse for a century, dating back to the release of the iconic (and still popular) No. 5 in 1921. From feminine staples such as Coco Mademoiselle to the genre-defining masculine Bleu de Chanel, the name Chanel is as good as gold in the perfume world. 

However, you might have noticed that a Chanel perfume doesn’t come cheap – often, a Chanel is more expensive than similarly placed designer brands like Dior or Armani. Why is Chanel perfume so expensive? 

Chanel perfume is expensive for a number of reasons. One is their high quality, of course. Another is that, given that Chanel is one of the most iconic brands, they can afford expensive advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements, all of which are reflected in the final price of the product. 

Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look. 

The Price of Chanel Perfumes

So what is the actual price of your average Chanel perfume? 

The iconic No. 5 Eau de Parfum retails for $82 USD for a 1.2 oz (35 ml), $108 for a 1.7 oz (50 ml), $138 for a 3.4 oz (100 ml), and $220 for a 6.7 oz (200 ml) bottle. That’s around $1.38/ml, and more for the smaller sizes. The eau de toilette is slightly less, at $85 for a 1.7 oz (50 ml) bottle and $115 for a 3.4 oz (100 ml) bottle, for a grand total of around $1.15/ml. Chanel No. 5 Parfum is drastically more expensive, retailing for $340 for 1 oz (30 ml) of fragrance, an eyebrow raising $11.33/ml

No. 5 Eau de Parfum prices

SizePricePrice per ml
1.2 oz (30 ml)$82$2.73
1.7 oz (50 ml)$108$2.16
3.4 oz (100 ml)$138$1.38
6.7 oz (200 ml)$220$1.1

But that’s far from the most expensive edition of No. 5. For the true connoisseur, No. 5 Parfum Grand Extrait is available for just $2,150 for a 7.6 oz (225 ml) bottle, a somewhat more economical $9.50/ml. But the ultimate No. 5 could only be the limited edition Parfum Grand Extrait, housed in a massive, blood red Baccarat bottle, costing an eye-popping $30,000 for 30.4 oz (900 ml), or $33/ml. 

The limited edition Parfum Grand Extrait bottle, worth $30,000.

Of course, that’s at the extreme end of the spectrum. But you can see the general trend – Chanel perfumes average out at a little more than $1 per ml, increasing in price with the concentration of the fragrance. 

Want to know more about fragrance concentrations? Here’s a quick rundown

For even higher prices (and even higher quality fragrances), you can check out Chanel’s Les Exclusifs luxury collection. One of my favorites from the line, Sycomore, goes for $200 for a 2.5 oz (75 ml) bottle, and $350 for the 6.7 oz (200 ml) size. That’s about $2.66/ml. 

Why Chanel Perfumes Are Expensive

$1 per ml is not all that out of the ordinary in the designer perfume realm, but more than that starts to get rarer. While a Paco Rabanne perfume might not be able to get away with $138 for a 100 ml bottle, a brand like Chanel can and does. 

Why is that? 

Well, if you want a look at why perfumes are expensive on the whole, you can take a look here for a more in-depth explanation. 

As for Chanel…

High Quality

Chanel is one of the few brands that has kept its standard of quality fairly consistent over the years. That level of quality is part and parcel of the brand’s image. 

The perfume itself is quality. This is due in no small part to the fact that Chanel owns a number of farms that produce raw materials solely for their own consumption in Grasse. The best of the jasmine, rose, tuberose, iris, and gardenia crops go directly into Chanel perfumes. 

Additionally, Chanel, despite being one of the world’s leading fashion houses, remains private ownership, where others, including Dior and Louis Vuitton, have been bought up by corporate conglomerates such as LVMH. This allows them to maintain their standards, without diluting their formulae solely for profit. 

The packaging for Chanel perfumes is likewise high quality. Most bottles are made of hefty, weighty glass, have magnetic caps, and come in simple, but elegant boxes. 

All of that chic, although seemingly effortless, comes at a cost. 

Advertising Campaigns & Celebrity Endorsements

Being one of the world’s largest and most successful fashion brands, with an estimated $9 billion net worth, gives Chanel access to the big guns that other brands could only dream of. 

Their advertising campaigns are luxurious and famous, featuring renowned celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Catherine Deneuve, and, most recently, Marillon Cotillard

All of that glitz and glamor, of course, ain’t free. Just launching an advertising campaign on the scale of Chanel can cost tens of millions, and keeping it up will cost as much or more. Celebrity licensing can also take away a pretty penny from the piggy bank. 

And all of that, of course, is reflected in the final cost of the product. 

Brand Recognition

One of the most noteworthy things about Chanel perfumes is that they almost never go on sale. 

While other brands such as Dior or Armani might appear on discount shelves or websites like FragranceNet and FragranceX, Chanel perfumes practically never do. Part of that is because Chanel rigidly controls its supply chains, more so than most brands. 

But it’s also because Chanel doesn’t have to. There is no need for Chanel products to go on deep discount, because they will always be bought. Chanel is one of the most iconic fashion houses of all time, and the name practically sells itself. 

Therefore, Chanel can afford to charge a slightly higher rate than most houses, and rarely offer discounts. That’s all part of the mystique. 

The Final Word

Chanel is one of the most popular fashion brands for a reason. 

Its high quality, chic sensibility, and legendary (if somewhat fraught given the late M. Chanel’s Nazi contacts) history, has more than cemented its place in the fashion hall of fame. And No. 5, along with a whole host of iconic perfumes, has made its mark on perfume history. 

The price of Chanel perfume is expensive due to a few different factors. Chanel’s quality remains high both in terms of the packaging and the fragrances themselves. Chanel runs expensive advertising campaigns, and brand recognition allows them to keep prices higher than other brands.