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“Perfumery is restless”

Thirty-five billion dollars: that’s the current value of the global fragrance market. Forecasts expect it to double in the years to come, with French brands as the main players.

Aymeric Mantoux

By Aymeric Mantoux22 mars 2021

End of year and beginning 2021 sales were very dynamic (Orgue de parfumeur, Usine Historique Fragonard Parfumeur à Grasse )

Celebrating World Fragrance Day, Philippe Ughetto, director of the France Fragrance Foundation, the organization that values know-how and talent in the industry, shares the latest trends of the market.

What’s the status of the fragrance sector?

Philippe Ughetto, director of the France Fragrance Foundation (DR)

After a difficult year 2020 due to Covid, some markets have recovered faster than others, but fine fragrances remained disadvantaged due to many points of sale closing and to travel retail. The USA, for example, remains the first market for our members. The Fragrance foundation, which was born there, is especially important over there and has been standing for the interests of French perfumers for 50 years. In China, everything quickly went back to normal, and our members’ figures were very good last year. End of year and beginning 2021 sales were very dynamic and even though they did not compensate all the losses, they have widely reached the expected level.

Was this due to digital?

Online sales have known a fantastic progression due to the opportunity effect linked to the crisis. Unfortunately, not enough to fill the global drop. The sector had anticipated some changes since the emergence of digital and the crisis accelerated this movement. Over the past years, perfumery brands have slowly taken over digital. This industry has always been ahead of its time, innovating, with Guerlain, Chanel, Rocha, today still the greatest perfumers, but driven by all the niche perfumers that are emerging and that are sometimes integrated to our big groups. French perfume brands are at the forefront on social media, proposing new digital experiences, ecommerce, working together with influencers. E-business has been skyrocketing for five years, especially over the last three years. A new threshold was reached, allowing perfumers to be in direct contact with their clients. Take Chanel for instance, which has for long been reluctant to sell online and did. Or even Sephora and Marionnaud, whose online boutiques have particularly developed.

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