From evolving consumer desires to dueling distributors, a wave of change is rocking India’s fragrance industry and the results could have long-term implications.
Though still small—Euromonitor International estimates the country’s fragrance sales to be about Rs 5.4 billion, or $112 million at current exchange—the category’s potential is anything but. Sales grew 17 percent in 2010, and more and more, international brands are entering the market to take advantage of India’s intrinsic affinity for the category. In the past two years alone, Prada, Guerlain, Giorigo Armani, Diesel and Hermès have entered the premium segment and Playboy has entered at mass.
“Overall, fragrance usage has gone up in India and is amongst the top growing categories in the beauty market in India,” says Vivek Bali, business head & assistant vice president of cosmetics and fragrances of Reliance Retail Ltd., which has a strong beauty footprint across many of its retail formats. “All three segments—premium, mass and value—are growing at a good pace, with customers transitioning from value to mass to premium in both the men’s and women’s segments.”
It’s not just women who are fueling the growth. The men’s category accounts for more than 60 percent of sales. Not only are men in India very aware of their own grooming needs, they are also part of the large gifting market which drives sales. “Men tend to buy more for gifting and are more concerned with their own grooming as well,” says Rakhi Gupta, category head for beauty at Future Group. The top-10 sellers in India, across categories and genders and by market share, are Old Spice, Revlon, Bulgari, Nina Ricci, Hugo Boss, Oriflame, Axe, Azzaro, Davidoff and Christian Dior, according to Euromonitor. P&G’s Old Spice has been the market leader for the last five years, although its share has fallen from 6.1 percent in 2005 to 5 percent in 2010, according to Euromonitor. Revlon was number two in 2010 with 4.7 percent market share. Charlie and Fire & Ice are its best sellers.
“Like the Middle East, India has a deep history in fragrances. It is ingrained in the culture,” says Hemansu Kotecha, managing director of Baccarose. He should know. Baccarose is a leading beauty distributor representing over 60 brands including Prada, Guerlain, Burberry, YSL, Clarins and Nina Ricci. Kotecha adds that global fragrance brands are “looking at India more seriously than before. Many brands are considering how to realize the potential in India and how to invest to get a bigger market share. The question is still about the right timing and strategy.”
Those two elements have been a key concern for many global marketers. While India holds the promise of a middle class some 400 million people strong and a history of using fragrance, sales figures have not always been enough to counter the high import duties, unrealistic real estate rental costs in malls and the challenge of distribution across a country that is geographically as diverse as many parts of Europe.
“That is one of the biggest challenges,” says Gabriel de Gea Díaz, sales manager at Takasago, “along with the fact that the concept of fragrances in India is unique. Agarbathis (incense sticks) form a very large part of the fragrance market, and are much stronger in Southern India. Chewing tobacco is a very important segment and is spread all over India. Personal care and fragrances are more concentrated in the North.”
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)