Labbrand Group, a global leader in brand and business management consulting, is pleased to announce that its Research Director, William Liu, was recently invited by VOGUE BUSINESS to contribute his extensive expertise on the fragrance market and brand building. This collaboration aims to delve into the intricacies of Chinese Gen-Z’s fragrance consumption and provide valuable insights for industry professionals.
With over a decade of experience in consumer insights, brand strategy, and digital media strategy services across diverse industries, including healthcare, FMCG, beauty, automotive, technology, luxury, and finance, William Liu brings a wealth of knowledge to the table. His in-depth consumer insights research for a wide range of fragrance brands has positioned him as a trusted authority in the field.
The discussion centered around the theme of “Understanding Chinese Gen-Z’s Fragrance Consumption,” shedding light on key perspectives that are shaping the market.
In recent years, the fragrance industry has experienced significant shifts and trends. One noteworthy transformation is the shift towards niche fragrances, where consumers are increasingly seeking scents that defy traditional identities and labels. This movement can be attributed to the rising demand for what we define as “folded versatility,” as identified through extensive consumer research across eight dimensions, including neutrality, distinctiveness, and novelty.
Interestingly, our three-year tracking study revealed a subtle but intriguing decline in the weightage of novelty and boldness. This can be attributed to the social limitations imposed by the pandemic, where fragrance consumption leaned towards private olfactory appreciation and satisfaction. However, as social restrictions ease, social interactions resume, and mask-wearing decreases, finding the right balance between inclusivity and niche appeal will be a crucial focus for the future.
Understanding the role fragrances play in consumers’ lives, particularly among Gen-Z consumers, is of paramount importance. What motivates individuals to purchase perfumes? How has this role evolved as consumers’ perceptions and usage habits have changed over time?
Gen-Z consumers aspire to highlight their personal identity through profound character nuances rather than conventional fashion images. We believe that the underlying emotional motivation for perfume consumption is consistent: the display of a fashionable personality and identity recognition. Unlike previous generations, where wearing fragrance was predominantly about projecting a fashionable brand, Gen-Z’s inclination leans towards intense and iconic scents that amplify their identity recognition.
However, growing up in a privileged environment with constant exposure to explosive information and symbolic stimuli, Gen-Z’s minds are perpetually seeking novelty, often shunning traditional symbols. They value depth and meaning beyond superficial appearances, embracing profound character nuances as the new symbols of personal identity.
The presentation and communication of these new symbols have accelerated the growth of the fragrance category in recent years. Brands that successfully integrate olfactory attributes and effectively communicate the imagined world, emotional narratives, and ideological frameworks behind a fragrance offer Gen-Z a sensory experience that is more meaningful and relatable.
The entry of emerging brands has injected fresh blood into the fragrance industry, leading to new dynamics and competition between niche and mainstream players in the Chinese market.
Mainstream fashion brands are delving deeper into their Brand Ideology assets, projecting their fragrance lines as an extension of their fashion houses and the philosophies, personality attitudes, and values of their founders. By establishing strong connections between perfume and brand ideology, these mainstream brands aim to resonate with consumers on a deeper level.
On the other hand, niche brands are exploring the realms of human philosophy, advancing the artistic value of perfumery, and preserving their exclusivity. To maintain their niche positioning, these brands focus on attracting a specific high-end target audience.
Brands straddling the line between niche and mainstream: In the short term, these brands are expected to experience robust growth due to their high sales volume and niche appeal. However, striking a balance between mass-market appeal and exclusivity is likely to pose a significant challenge in the long run. These brands face the complex task of maintaining their unique positioning while appealing to a broader consumer base. The ability to navigate this delicate equilibrium will be crucial for their sustained success in the competitive Chinese market.
Labbrand Group had the privilege of participating in the fragrance market insight sharing organized by VOGUE BUSINESS, where industry experts shared the impact of the generational consumer behaviors, brand strategies, and market trends in this fast changing and competitive landscape.