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Puig Investing in Scent Library, a Chinese Fragrance Brand

The perfume market in China is burgeoning fast, so western perfume makers are pouring in.

PARIS — Puig said it has invested in Scent Library, a Chinese fragrance brand. Terms were not disclosed.

“Scent Library intends to apply the proceeds thus raised to the development of fragrance products connected with authentic Chinese culture; to the creation of a deep, immersive consumer experience at all touchpoints; to the optimization and integration of the brand’s international supply chain, and to the ongoing staffing of a high-level team,” the company said in a statement.

“Partnering with Scent Library was a very appealing opportunity to participate in the development of the Chinese fragrance market with a Chinese-based company and a Chinese-founded team,” Marc Puig, chief executive officer of Puig, was quoted as saying.

The fragrance market in China is burgeoning, and western beauty-makers are moving into the country rapidly. Perfume remained unpopular for many years after the Cultural Revolution in the ’60s in China, but now there is a significant resurgence of interest in fragrance there, especially among younger consumers.

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Retail sales for fragrances in China reached $1.43 billion last year, and they’re expected to rise by 25.5 percent to $1.97 billion in 2021, then hit an estimated $2.44 billion in 2022, according to Euromonitor International.

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Scent Library was launched in Beijing in 2009 and introduced scent products based on contemporary Chinese culture starting in 2015. It was cofounded by Roseline Lou and John Han.

Scent Library’s offer includes perfume, body care and home fragrance. The brand runs about 80 brick-and-mortar doors in China’s malls and shopping centers. It operates online, as well.

Scent Library expects the Chinese fragrance market to boom.

“Research data shows that China’s perfume market accounts for only 2.5 percent of the global market, but the average annual growth rate is over 25 percent,” Lou said in the statement. “Therefore, we have strong faith and confidence that we can make a significant contribution.”

It has done so already. In 2017, the brand launched L.B.K. Water, 400,000 units of which were sold in one month and 1 million units in the year.

L.B.K. Water
L.B.K. Water Courtesy of Puig

Two years later, Scent Library introduced the Milk Candy scent, which was cobranded with the Chinese confectionery brand White Rabbit. In the first 10 minutes of being on the market, 14,000 units were sold. Within a month, Milk Candy boasted 1.8 billion views on social-media channels.

To grow its business online, Scent Library targets Gen Zers on various e-commerce platforms, social media channels and applications, such as WeChat, TikTok and Red, plus on Viya for e-streaming. On Viya, from 2020 to 2021, Scent Library took the number-two sales position in the Chinese domestic perfume category.

Fragrance is one of Puig’s core businesses. Its perfume portfolio includes owned brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne.

The company, which posted sales of 1.54 billion euros in 2020, also takes minority stakes in companies, such as Granado, Brazil’s oldest pharmacy brand.

Over the summer, other western beauty players have pushed further into China to get a bigger foothold in the swiftly growing fragrance market there. For instance, fragrance and flavors supplier Givaudan partnered with Alibaba’s Tmall for accelerated scent creation and invested in Next Beauty China, an incubator for emerging fragrance and beauty brands. Meanwhile, Shiseido launched three of its perfume brands on Tmall.


Givaudan Invests in Chinese Fragrance and Beauty Incubator Next Beauty

Tmall, Givaudan Partner for Accelerated Scent Creation in China

Shiseido Launching Three Perfume Brands on Tmall