How the fragrance category is embracing tomorrow's consumer

By Simon Pitman contact

- Last updated on GMT

How the fragrance category is embracing tomorrow's consumer

Related tags: Aroma compound

The fragrance category is witnessing some major shifts. An area that was once dominated by sex-laced marketing, the message is now very different, with new trends such as natural, personalised and home fragrances all being marketed with a very different approach.

As part of a presentation given at the recent in-cosmetics Korea event,  analyst Nicole Fall, founder of the market intelligence agency Five By Fifty, highlighted how the fragrance category in the Asia Pacific region and world wide is reinventing itself as a means of engaging a new generation of consumers. 

Bold, erotic and formulaic fragrance brands have now been replaced by scents that tap into lifestyles that highlight a greater emphasis on individuality and leisure time that stresses calm and relaxation.

Scenctcuration trend

One of the opportunities identified by Fall is termed ‘scentcuration’, which is the growing sense that fragrances should incorporate and reflect different elements of a modern lifestyle.

"It's the idea that diversity and environment are leading fragrance and personal care trends right now, rather than the one size fits all that has been pursued by a lot of brands in the past,"​ Fall said.

One particular example of this is the idea that the home or work should be treated as a kind of sanctuary enhanced by using fragrance oils, a trend that is gaining particular momentum in Japan where consumers are still relatively new to fragrances.

These consumers are embracing new dispensing technologies that aim to improve their living or work spaces with personalised solutions that invariably incorporate subtle scents.

Japanese brand @Aroma is at the forefront of the home fragrance personalisation trend. It has provided blended scents in the department store Hikarie for a number of years, and is now building on that by offering users the choice of five scents that can be digitally blended according to their preference.

Scents that tie into sustainable and ethical issues

Throughout Asia issues such as sustainability, ethical matters, and products that incorporate natural and organic ingredients have been slower to take off in the Asia Pacific region. But things are changing, as younger consumers start to take such matters to the heart. 

Linked with this, Fall highlighted a trend she refers to as 'Modern Indigenous' whereby fragrance users are actively seeking out products that incorporate more unusual, yet locally sourced natural ingredients. Fall cites a number of brands that are highlighting this, including Korea's Innisfree and Malaysian brand Apothecary.

Another example is the Singaporean brand Oo La Lab, an exclusive brand that offers a signature scent only found at Changi Airport and the Ion Orchard shopping mall, while also allowing customers to custom blend their own scents using a variety of ingredients, many of which are unique to Asia. 

"The fragrance category in the Asia Pacific is rapidly reinventing itself by incorporating advanced technology, tapping into changing lifestyles and by giving brands a more distinctly Asian feel and identity,"​ said Fall.

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