While the talk in the fragrance business for some time has been the growth potential among Chinese women, a new study by Mintel concludes that the men’s market shows promise.
“The word perfume often has feminine overtones among male consumers, however, thanks to the popularity of Japanese and Korean TV dramas, fashions from these countries are shaping Chinese men’s perceptions of personal grooming. As a result of this trend, younger male consumers are shifting away from their conservative traditions and have been impressed with concepts which promote individual expression. This has caused manufacturers to launch male-specific brands, including toiletries, despite the fact that they were previously associated with being a woman’s product,” says Lui Meng Chow, China research analyst at Mintel.
The fragrance market has grown from RMB 3.2 billion in 2008 to RMB 4.2 billion in 2011, a total of 32 percent in just three years. Comparatively, the women’s fragrance market has grown just 10 percent.
The Mintel study found that the top reasons Chinese men have turned to fragrance are: become more attractive and well-groomed (60 percent) or stylish (53 percent). Forty-six percent of respondencts said they purchase perfumes and fragrances from a specialist perfume shop, while 37 percent said they buy fragrances at a department store and 35 percent choose to purchase them online.
“As the distribution channels for beauty and luxury are growing out from tier one cities, this has created the opportunity for fragrance to grow in the future. Also, as Chinese consumers are gradually expressing their individual identity to reflect their social status, fragrance has become one of the fashion accessories used by consumers to express personality,” Chow says. “Most Chinese males tend to enter the beauty-care category in the middle to high-end product category, buying into those products with credible quality, thus they are willing to spend more in their first experience of grooming products.”
According to Mintel’s research, most urban Chinese consumers wear fragrance to express personal image: about 80% for personal style, 78% to help them stand out at social gatherings and 45% to stay trendy with the latest perfume launches. About 39% of the consumers use fragrance for more functional purpose of eliminating body odor, and 42% of respondents wear fragrance because they received it as a gift
Chow also explains that fragrance is viewed as a luxury item, especially the scents offered by international brands. Buying fragrance means purchasing an identity and an emotional connection to a stylish group, making male fragrance a huge hit among the affluent and the emerging middle-income Chinese.
photo credit: hugo boss