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Scents of Spring - The sweet, sweet smell of lawnmowers

All across Britain this week, blossom is appearing, daffodils are starting to bloom and all the signs suggest that spring may finally have sprung. But according to a study of 2,000 Britons, it won’t truly feel like the seasons have changed until they get their first whiff of a lawnmower.

Our recent study found the grassy scent of a mower in action is the smell which marks the start of spring for 50% of Britons. Other smells which signal the onset of spring include daffodils and hyacinths (42%), blossom (42%) and wet grass (27%). Unorthodox options such as fake tan (2%), roast lamb (5%) and manure (7%) also featured in the list.

Respondents were also asked what other signs signify to them that the British winter is finally over. Being woken up by the morning sun was the top response (chosen by 40% of those surveyed), closely followed by being able to open windows at home (31%) and hanging washing outside (30%).

For one in ten Brits (and 16% of Londoners), drinking outdoors is the clearest sign that summer is on its way, while for an unlucky 9% the onset of hayfever is what signals the start of spring. And spare a thought for the 1% of Brits for whom the clearest sign of spring is having to fill out their tax return!

Familiar scents are one of the most effective triggers of memories, with past research suggesting that 75% of the emotions humans generate are affected by our sense of smell. Humans recall smells with 65% accuracy a year after smelling them, in contrast to 50% of visuals after just three months. And because no two people experience odours in the same way, scents are very personal to the person who smells them.

Kenneth Freeman, Head of Innovation at Ambius said, “Of the five senses, smell is the most powerful, with the ability to trigger emotions and memories of good times with friends and family. 75% of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell, which shows just how emotive scents can be."

“The natural smells, such as cut grass, daffodils and blossoms were the most popular scents of spring suggesting that the closer to nature we are, the happier we feel as human beings once winter is over.”

Favourite smells of spring:

  1. Lawnmowers in actions (50%)
  2. Daffodils and hyacinths (42%)
  3. Blossoms (42%)
  4. Wet grass (27%)
  5. Rain / dew (17%)
  6. Freshly toasted hot cross buns (12%)
  7. BBQs (10%)
  8. Manure (7%)
  9. Roast lamb (5%)
  10. Furniture polish (3%)

Key signs that winter is over:

  1. Waking up to the morning sun (40%)
  2. Opening windows at home (31%)
  3. Hanging your washing outside on the line to dry (30%)
  4. Leaving work when it’s still daylight (28%)
  5. Sight of cherry blossom (20%)
  6. Spring lambs in fields (17%)
  7. Packing your winter clothes away / wearing short sleeves (16%)
  8. Outside drinking (10%)
  9. Easter eggs appear in the shops (10%)
  10. Eating more salad and less hot food (10%)

Research carried out by Opinium Research through an online survey of 2,004 UK adults aged 18+ from 6th – 10th March 2015. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.