Fragrance : The Global Sillage

At the recently held Fragrance Innovation Congress event in Dubai, Jasbir Bolar, Marketing Director of ParfumPlus Magazine, was seen moderating a panel discussion on “The perspective on the future of fragrances”. The expert panelists shared some interesting insights on various pressing matters concerning the perfume industry. In this issue, we bring you excerpts from this panel discussion

The Fragrance Innovation Congress acted as a focal point recently for the perfume industry in the region. It recently held a forum at Crowne Plaza, Dubai where visitors were provided a chance to connect with perfumery experts from across the globe and gain an understanding of innovative practices, technology and concepts to further help in the development of the industry. Reports have also indicated that the fragrance sales are expected to generate close to 8.5 billion USD. Therefore, more brands are paying closer attention to the Middle East given the region’s youth population, high purchasing power and retail development.

In this edition of Speaking Scents, we bring you interesting insights from the panel discussion hosted during the Fragrance Innovation Congress. The panelists – Juilee Thakare, General Manager, Nabeel Perfumes, UAE and Olimpia Mascolo, Head of Retail, Mohammed Hilal Perfumes, UAE, Jean-Jacques Rouge, Perfumery Consultant, Dubey Perfumers; were seen discussing on some very pressing and interesting topics revolving around the fragrance industry.

Jasbir Bolar (JB): How do you 
react to the newer and ever changing demands of millennials and generation Z. How do you reckon brands can keep them engaged and loyal?
Olimpia Mascolo(OM):
Well, the Gen Z and millennials are extremely important. They are our future customers therefore brands need to take the effort to pamper them. They are what we popularly call ‘the children of the internet’. Given their access to information, they are likely to have specific choices.

We know this generation is not loyal to a particular brand because they lack the connections. Given this scenario, if we as perfume brands do want to connect with the Gen Z customers, we must be able to convey the emotions through the brand communications. This will nudge them to build the connect. Simply put, retail has to evolve from being just a point of sale to a point of experience. We need to give the new generation a purpose of belonging 
to the brand.

Juilee Thakare(JT): Well, I agree with all that Olimpia has just said. I would like to add that Gen Z is all about expressing individuality. They see differentiation in products and do not blindly follow celebrity endorsements. The Gen Z may not be our consumers today but we do need to pay attention to them. They read a lot of reviews, they look for something to relate to. For example, the success of Huda cosmetics is a good example of how to reach out to Gen Z. What I am trying to say is that the brands need to get rid of the ‘one size fits all’ approach if we intend to connect to Gen Z.

We need to remember that they were born in a healthier economy and therefore have a disposable income 
to spend. All we need to do is reach 
out to their hearts.

JB: What is your perspective on 
the importance of sustainability when it comes to the fragrance industry in the region?
OM: I think globally all industries 
are adopting the sustainable development approach. We need to move towards a cleaner supply chain management. However, to be honest, 
in this region, my opinion is that we 
are lagging behind.

The sustainable approach is still nice to have but not a mandatory requirement. On the contrary in countries like Europe, a sustainable approach is the norm or a must-have. For instance, in Europe it is mandatory to have recyclable packaging. Here we do have a product developed on the sustainable approach – the pure agarwood incense sticks. The product is extremely successful, our customers love it. But the challenge is that they love it for all the other reasons like the fragrance, 
the packaging, etc.

I think it is the choice of the brand, if they choose to be sustainable, they need to work on educating the customers about its importance, basically teach them to appreciate 
the efforts.

Jean-Jacques Rouge (JJR): Sustainability is the way forward for me. According to me, the use of synthetic materials is a big step in this direction. There is a lot more that we can do in this direction. Globally this trend is very different.

Sustainability is considered a must-have feature. In my opinion, the need to educate the consumer comes after the brand has taken the effort to convey the importance of such efforts to its own employees.

JB: Your predictions for 2020
OM:
The year that went by was challenging but then which year was not. This year I look forward to the challenges. With regards to the predictions for Expo 2020, I think the influx of tourism for the expo will be big. We have a big surprise coming up this year, it is a product that we have been working on. I think the spirits are lifting and I only wish for peace and happiness in the year to come.

JT: With regards to the future of fragrances for 2020, I can see a growth in the market for affordable, sustainable and unique fragrances. In my opinion, the artistic brands, niche brands will be on the rise. The market for customised scents will grow as the use of natural ingredients will remain strong. Artificial Intelligence will be a big enabler on the retail side as well.

I see more of machine learning coming into play even in the perfumery industry. Another big trend that I see in the future is the rise of unisex or gender fluid fragrances. In my opinion, the future of fragrances is a beautiful combination of art and science. I am also hopeful that the Arabic fragrances will connect more strongly with the western audience.

JJR: I agree with everything Julie said..