Fragrance focus: Top 10 stories on fragrance innovation and developments in APAC

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Here we round up of our biggest stories on fragrance this year. [Getty Images]
Here we round up of our biggest stories on fragrance this year. [Getty Images]

Related tags Fragrance Perfume

Here we round up of our biggest stories on fragrance this year, featuring news on luxury niche perfume space, upcycled fine fragrance ingredients, and more trends in the burgeoning APAC fragrance space.

‘The perfume effect’: Luxury niche fragrances bucked recession trend in Korea – Shinsegae

Shinsegae International observed that economic fears were not deterring consumers from purchasing luxury niche fragrances, believing they had replaced lipstick as the new recession-proof commodity.

The lipstick index, a term famously coined by Estée Lauder's Leonard Lauder, is the theory that sales of affordable luxuries tend rise during economic downturns.

However, instead of lipsticks, the South Korean fashion, beauty, and lifestyle retailer believed that luxury niche fragrances were the new barometer of consumer demand.

Dupe dilemma: The real cost of affordable perfume imitations to the fragrance industry

The rise of ‘dupes’ has been claimed to be at the expense of the creative efforts of perfumers and risks ‘dumbing down’ the category, with the relentless advancement of technology like artificial intelligence (AI) likely to exacerbate the situation.

In the world of fine fragrances, we have seen the rise of dupes – alternatives to high-end fragrances that closely mimic well-known scents but are sold for a fraction of the price.

These imitations have sparked significant debate surrounding the ethical implications of recreating an already-existing scent.

‘Outsized growth’: Coty aims to double China sales to over $600m on the back of prestige fragrance potential

American beauty multinational Coty said it was counting on China’s prestige fragrance boom to drive ambition to more than double sales in China to over $600m.

Coty CEO Sue Y. Nabi said that its business in China, along with travel retail, represented “the next legs of outsize growth”.

Nabi was speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference (CAGNY) for the first time this year, where she and CFO Laurent Mercier detailed the firm’s financial goals and highlighted future growth opportunities.

She highlighted that Coty could benefit from a number of growth drivers in China, especially as the market was reopening after prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns.

Science of scents: How Scent Journer is tapping tech and data to stand out in niche fragrance market

An emphasis on tech and data has been crucial for indie fragrance brands to become trendsetters in the increasingly saturated niche market, claims a Singapore start-up that is tapping AI and social media research.

The firm’s ambition was to develop perfumes that solve the Asian consumers’ biggest pain points with fragrances, while also delivering tangible benefits to them.

On the Indie Pioneers Podcast by CosmeticsDesign-Asia​, founder Joyce Lian explained that she emphasised on scientific data like a typical skin care brand would, even though she primarily trades in perfumes.

From food waste to fine fragrance: How upcycled ingredients meet consumer demands for sustainability and naturality

Upcycling food by-products to develop ingredients for perfumery could help achieve consumer desire for natural yet sustainable ingredients.

With more concern for the environment, the race is on to find alternatives that do not deplete natural resources.

This is particularly tricky for the fragrance industry, which is known for using some of the most precious materials, from roses to sandalwood.

The industry has been able to turn to synthetic counterparts as an ethical and sustainable alternative to help alleviate pressure on delicate ecosystems.

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‘The omnipresence of scent’: Coty MD of SEA and India on why lifestyle fragrance is an ‘untapped opportunity’

Beauty major Coty recognises the vast potential to create fragranced products that can enhance various aspects of consumers' lives beyond traditional perfumes and colognes, said a top executive.

Over the last three years, the fragrance category has expanded significantly to include more home and lifestyle products, including scent candles, room sprays, and even scented jewellery.

The demand for these products has grown in correlation with the heightened appreciation of scent. This prospect of developing new products to “cocoon ourselves with scent​” is an exciting prospect for fragrance companies like Coty.

Fragrance of the future: Symrise aims to unearth mega brand potential in China

Symrise said it was on the search to identify a homegrown brand that could redefine China’s fine fragrance landscape and challenge Western fragrance powerhouses for the hearts and noses of perfume aficionados.

In recent years, China has witnessed a remarkable rise of homegrown luxury brands. Brands such as Shang Xia and Uma Wang have earned recognition for challenging the dominance of Western luxury houses with their quality and craftsmanship.

Fragrance house Symrise believed these are just some of the Chinese brands have a massive potential to make an indelible mark on the luxury fragrance arena and become the next mega brand.


‘Personalisation and craftsmanship’: Atelier Rebul aims to bring bespoke services to China when it expands offline

A 128-year-old Turkish fragrance house was set to expand offline in China in 2023 with plans to offer its signature bespoke services to cater to the heightened appreciation for “personalisation and craftsmanship”.

Co-CEO Nuket Filiba believed these two elements will be driving trends in the fragrance market, particularly in China.

“This is a service we offer in our heritage store in Turkey. We’re planning to bring that to China as well because that heritage and craftsmanship is very much appreciated there,” ​she told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.


Higher quality needed: Rise in demand for ‘complexity’ as fragrance premiumisation moves to mass segment

The trend of premiumisation in fragrance is moving towards the mass personal care segment and driving demand for more complex scents, said an Australian sandalwood supplier.

Fragrance premiumisation has been most evident in the prestige market, but consumers are now expecting the same from their shampoos and body lotions, said Guy Vincent, CEO Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils.

“We have brands like Tom Ford that are pushing the envelope with lots of naturals, very high quality. They are pushing things at the prestige luxury market and that’s opening a space in mass. Now people want that high quality in their daily use products,” ​said Vincent.

“Consumers are getting more discerning. We saw through COVID, there was a focus on candles and air care from premium brands. That premiumisation has increased and there’s real potential for that in the mass segment.”


'Aromatherapy is booming': Aromatica aims to expand offline in promising US market – CEO

South Korean brand Aromatica said it was focusing its efforts on strengthening its brand presence in the US market, where it was aiming to expand into the physical retail market.

The company began expanding its reach overseas 10 years ago. Initially, it found success in markets like Japan despite not having many chances to expand offline, CEO Jerry Kim told CosmeticsDesign-Asia.

Today, the company is zeroing in on the US market, where it has observed rising interest in aromatherapy.

“In America, aromatherapy is booming. There are aromatherapy brands that are growing rapidly. It’s a huge market so we are focusing and pitching more in the US market,” said Kim.

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