Fragrance brands

Why Chinese Perfume Brands Are Outpacing Their Global Competitors

The following is an excerpt from Jing Daily’s news report, “How Niche Fragrances are Winning Over Young Chinese Consumers”, available for download on our Reports page. This 25-page primer sheds light on China’s emerging niche fragrance market, one of the fastest growing premium categories with great untapped potential. Get your copy of the report here.

Just as C-beauty brands like Perfect Diary and Florasis are all the rage among young consumers thanks to creative product design, localized marketing strategies and affordable prices, Chinese perfume producers are making similar efforts to attract new generation of buyers.

The domestic sector is boosted by major global players such as Givaudan, the Swiss manufacturer of fragrances, flavors and cosmetics ingredients, which added a third production facility in China in 2020. In June 2021, Givaudan announced an unprecedented partnership with Tmall to launch the T-Lab Source Innovation Laboratory , which will be aimed at dramatically accelerating the development process of fragrances to meet the tastes of Chinese consumers.

“As Tmall’s premier fragrance innovation partner, Givaudan will receive ideation-stage fragrance opportunities, gain access to Tmall’s brand ecosystem, and leverage data-driven capabilities like the online research from Tmall Innovation Center,” Yaling Li, Givaudan’s head of fragrances for China and Korea, told Jing Daily. “This unique offering will shorten end-to-end product development for fine fragrances from 40 weeks to just four weeks. And our partnership with T-Lab allows us to anticipate consumer trends by using behavioral data to deliver unique and timely new product offerings. »

The following month, Givaudan invested an undisclosed sum in Series A funding of Next Beauty China, a Shanghai-based incubator that has launched more than 15 fragrance and beauty brands since its inception in 2018, a move that will give it deeper access to the Chinese market.

In terms of product development, a popular strategy is to create fragrances that tap into nostalgia and familiar aspects of Chinese life, such as White Rabbit candies or osmanthus flowers. Combined with competitive pricing, such a tactic can reduce friction around the purchase, as consumers will have a better idea of ​​what they’re getting without having to try it in person.

Case Study: Scent Library Product Strategy

Scent Library’s best-selling fragrance series, “LBK Water (Room Temperature Water),” used an everyday household symbol for nostalgic marketing. Photo: Perfume Library website.

Library of scents was founded in 2009 in Beijing as a salon-style multi-brand retailer and focused on building its own brand five years later. It has since become known for its products that release memories very specific to China. In 2017, she launched the viral product LBK Water (short for liang bai kai, meaning chilled boiled water), which brought back childhood memories to the generation growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, when many families still boiled tap water. to drink and use daily.

LBK Water has become a flagship product for Scent Library, and the brand recently expanded to a collection of four limited-edition city-themed fragrances based on LBK Water. Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu were chosen as inspiration for new perfumery products capable of stimulating local memories linked to smell.

Scent Library’s other flagship product was inspired by the sweet, milky taste of White Rabbit candies. Originally launched as a collaboration between the ten-year-old perfume brand and the 60-year-old confectionery brand for their anniversaries in 2019, the series includes a range of products, such as perfume, scented shower gel, body lotion , hand cream , and diffusers. In a fun twist, samples wrapped in candy wrappers were offered at mall vending machines.

As of this writing, Scent Library has amassed over 3.6 million subscribers on Tmall (for comparison, Jo Malone has 3.8 million), with most of her fragrances selling for around 285 RMB ($44) per 50ml, which is on the lower end of the price range for the niche fragrance category in China.

Get your copy of “How Niche Perfumes are Winning Over Young Chinese Consumers” here.