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Consumer habits and olfactory trends around the world

Perfume around the world

Every region of the world has its own culture of perfume. It may either have appeared recently or have been part of a country’s history for centuries. Either way, a country’s culture of perfume is responsible for the olfactory tastes of its inhabitants, as well as their habits of consumption.

Through this article, we will take you through several regions of the world whose culture of perfume are singularly different.


Le Japon et le parfum

The Japanese culture is particularly reluctant to perfume as it is considered a source of nuisance. Moreover, the term “Kôsui Kôgai” is specifically used to designate an olfactory nuisance. The Japanese, being very focused on respecting others, use very little perfume on them, if at all, not to disturb the people around them.

However, if the Japanese don’t use much perfume on them, they are no less than big buyers of perfumes. Indeed, they collect the fragrance bottles which, most of the time, they don’t even open!

Instead, they use perfume as an artistic object to expose in their homes.

The young Japanese generation has nevertheless begun to use perfume with very light citrus notes, fresh and rather green. Fragrances around tea and cherry blossom, which happens to be the growing season in April, are particularly appreciated. We also notice amongst some young people an attraction for slightly different olfactory fragrances, in the spirit of manga.


Encens qui brule en Chine

Unlike in Japan, perfume has had its place for centuries in the Chinese culture. In fact, the art of perfume has long been considered both sacred and profane. In China, the culture of incense is particularly developed since the 3rd century BC. Moreover, it is through perfume and incense that many Chinese savoir-faire is revealed.

Recently, the cosmetic market, especially perfume, has grown exponentially, showing that the Chinese love to perfume themselves. Their favourite scents are fresh, delicate and floral, like the scent of Magnolia, a symbolic flower of feminine purity and beauty which grows in southern China.

Middle East

Le parfum au Moyen Orient

In the Middle East, the culture of perfume is totally different. In these hot countries, scents with a strong and long lasting smell are particularly appreciated. They are heady, powerful, ambery, woody, spicy and vanilla. To ensure their perfumes resist to the climate of their country, the Oriental culture prioritises perfumes with an oily base, applicable with roll-ons, so that they can easily be applied on the neck for example. They are also fans of combinations of scents. When they buy a perfume, it is often to mix it with several others on their skin.

The Middle Eastern countries have some favourite materials:

  •  The Taif Rose, grown in a region of Saudi Arabia with a particularly mild climate.
  • The Oud, a raw material extracted from the resin of the Agar wood and traditionally worn by men as well as women. Its mysterious woody, oriental and warm smell is very powerful and easily associated with the Emirates.
  • The Incense, coming from the Emirate of Oman, is also very popular in the Middle East. It is the origin of Bakhoor, a mixture of wood and traditional incense often perfumed with essential oils of Oud, Sandalwood, Jasmine and spices. It is then burned so that its volutes of smoke perfume rooms and clothes.


Les habitudes de parfum des brésiliens

Produits clefs de la marque brésilienne Natura

In Brazil, the approach to perfume is slightly different. While in the Western countries perfume is often associated with seduction, Brazilians prefer the olfactory experience and consider perfume as a sign of care and self-esteem.

Due to the country’s hot and humid climate, fresh, floral, fruity and citrus notes are generally very popular in the country. Nevertheless, sweet and vanilla notes have begun to break through these last years.

The perfume market in Brazil is the second largest market in the world after the United States’ (where celebrity perfumes are very popular). However, there are two distinct market axes: local brands and international brands.

Indeed, two strongly implanted local cosmetic empires seduce a large number of Brazilian consumers: O boticario and Natura. Their best sellers are Malbec and Floratta Blue for O boticario and Essential and Humor for Natura.

The second part of the market is interested in fragrances from international brands such as Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent etc. However, the olfactory tastes of Brazilians are quite surprising.

In 2018, La Vie est Belle de Lancôme and One Million by Paco Rabanne are bestsellers in Brazil; Until now, nothing new. What is surprising though, is the success of the Carolina Herrera brand in the country. While the brand is not well known in the western world, Brazilians are particularly fond of Good Girl, VIP Rose, VIP Men or Sexy.

Perfumers and olfactory trends

In order to appeal to different consumer markets with their fragrances, brands have to adapt to the various olfactory cultures and trends. Perfumers must therefore imagine fragrances consistent with the traditions of the country. Some launches have an international focus while others target a particular region of the world. For example, we find perfumes specially created for the Orientals in the private collections of the brands like Dior, Guerlain, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, etc … Oud Ispahan of Dior is an example.

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