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The Middle Eastern fragrance market: ‘An interesting paradox’

Closeup of bottles of essential oils used in perfume making disp

The arab luxury world 2015 conference featured an insightful presentation by Nadine Touma, head of market and consumer intelligence at Chalhoub Group.

Touma begins with an explanation of the important place that fragrances occupy in Middle Eastern society and the big role they play in the daily lives of GCC nationals.

“Oriental fragrances are part of the self-grooming ritual observed by men and women in the region,” she says.

After three years of research, Chalhoub Group has been able to compile a comprehensive report, which offers eye-opening findings on the subject.

The luxury goods market in the region was estimated at $7 billion in 2014 with an increase of 12 per cent year on year. A quarter (25 per cent) of the luxury budget of GCC consumers goes to perfumes and cosmetics. While the Western fragrances market is worth $1.2bn, the oriental perfumes market is worth $1.5bn to $2bn, making it very attractive for brands across the globe.

There is room for both local and international brands in the Middle East, since consumers tend to use oriental and Western fragrances simultaneously and on a daily basis with a regional layering technique. The technique has been used in the region for centuries. The concept is simple: people combine traditional oud fragrances with Western perfumes to create a unique scent.

“There is an interesting paradox when it comes to perfumery in the region. Consumers are looking for a sense of belonging while wanting to be unique,” notes Touma.

Today, all major fragrance brands have an oriental option in their portfolio. This goes to show once more that the traditional oriental fragrances have bright days ahead.



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