According to Euromonitor data, China’s fine fragrance market grew by 15% in the last year. Firmenich attributes this double-digit growth to China’s consumption upgrade.
“Consumption upgrade is well on its way in China, thanks to a growing middle-class population and enhanced affluence of the Chinese people. The consumption upgrade creates tremendous business opportunities for both Chinese companies and foreign companies like Firmenich,” said Olivier Viejo, senior commercial director, fine fragrance China, Firmenich.
Along with the growing demand for healthy food, high-quality home care as well as personal care products, the firm is seeing fine fragrance gain traction across the country in the consumers’ quest for more quality products.
Viejo told CosmeticsDesign-Asia that the company has observed a steady rise for more local niched fragrance brands which are giving consumers alternative choices to international brands.
“Local niched brands are also emerging and we see the approach on the [fragrances] consumers buy are often concepts playing more around social and cultural aspects, like art, culture or millennials lifestyle. This is also a big difference with Western country where seduction is a key concept,” said Viejo.
According to Viejo, the increasing popularity of local fragrance brands is due to the consumer’s desire to seek experiences and fun.
Firmenich has previously worked with domestic fragrance brand Scent Library for its now iconic scents, LBK and White Rabbit, which evoke powerful olfactive memories for the Chinese people.
The company recently opened its Fine Fragrance Atelier in Shanghai as a strategic move to explore such opportunities in the market.
“Fine Fragrance penetration in China is a growing trend and we also need to support our local clients to further develop the market and tackle new opportunities like in lower-tier cities where the consumption and interest for Fine Fragrance is growing,” said Viejo.
Jerry Vittoria, president of Fine Fragrance Worldwide, Firmenich said the new facility was specifically designed to address the needs of the Chinese consumers.
“The Atelier will develop China-driven initiatives for local clients, and provide strong local coordination to support global clients, as both local and international players are seeking to further understand the likings of Chinese consumers and expectations towards Fine Fragrance usage.”
Viejo added: “With the new Shanghai Fine Fragrance Atelier in place, Firmenich is better positioned to work with customers to define the Fine Fragrance trend in China, explore the market, develop right products, and aspire to create positive emotions through the sense of smell in China.”
According to Vittoria, the Atelier will develop “China-driven initiatives” for local clients and provide strong local coordination to support global clients.
“Both local and international players are seeking to further understand the likings of Chinese consumers and expectations towards Fine Fragrance usage. The Atelier is close to our local customers and is well-positioned to support them to succeed, helping them create positive emotions for consumers. Our integrated team helps customers to under the China market and the end-users’ diversified cultural needs.” he said.
Committed to China
This move follows the company’s numerous investments into China, including the opening of its first Asia Pacific focused R&D centre in Shanghai in 2006.
“China is an important strategic market for Firmenich. China is Firmenich’s second-largest market worldwide – second only to the US. The Fine Fragrance Atelier in Shanghai is further evidence of Firmenich’s strong commitment to China,” said Paul Andersson, president of Firmenich China.
The company foresees the momentum to continue in China especially with the rise of the middle class, millennials and Gen Z demographics.
Andersson commented that consumer brands cannot afford to neglect this crucial group.
“They have unique values and consumption behaviours. Firmenich works closely with customers to understand and address their special needs. Besides the recruitment of young generation, at Firmenich we focus on conducting studies to understand those generations and what are their expectations.”