Niche perfumes, the scents dreams are made of!
Perfume figures can make your head spin! Indeed, around 152 000 bottles of perfume are sold everyday in France, almost 2 per second. There are dozens of perfume brands and hundreds of new perfumes are launched every year. The global perfume market reached nearly $16 billion last year, divided between traditional brands, which take up nearly 90% of the market, and niche perfumes, which are on the rise. Do you know why these niche perfumes are becoming so successful?
Hold on, what is a niche perfume exactly?
The word “niche” is borrowed from marketing lingo. It refers to a confidential sector or market, aimed at a limited clientele of connoisseurs.
In the early 1980s, independent designers launched original fragrances to set themselves apart from the products offered by major brands, which were created for a global market. Competing with fragrances designed to appeal to the greatest number and sold with the help of extensive advertising campaigns – the marketing and communication budget represents more than 30% of the price of the bottle -, these designers chose to offer more distinctive, characterful fragrances, designed to appeal only to a limited clientele of connoisseurs.
Soon, a style of “niche fragrances” became prevalent, with names evoking natural ingredients and raw materials: vetiver, amber, leather, orange blossom, lilac, rose, jasmine, musk, or Magnolia bohème, Rose galante, Ylang-Ylang fatal… How about you, what feelings and emotions do these beautiful names invoke in you?
Elaborated from high–quality raw materials, niche perfumes are precious, high-end products that strive to be different, audacious, and creative. They are often more complex to create. Produced on a small scale and distributed in few points of sale, niche perfumes are aimed at a limited and demanding audience, which includes our Queens. Creators would rather call it “confidential perfumery”, “high perfumery”, “private collections of perfumes” or “limited editions”.
What are the main differences between a niche fragrance and a traditional fragrance?
While major brands invest large sums of money to research formulas that will appeal to the broadest audience possible, and even larger budgets to run advertising campaigns with models or actors, confidential perfumers on the other hand prefer to put the creator in the spotlight.
To present these “rare fragrances” or “author perfumes”, fragrance houses use a poetic language that puts emphasis on the creator rather than the brand. Sometimes described as a craftsman, or even an alchemist, the “Nose” can give free rein to their creativity to tell a story, create an atmosphere without fear of having to alter their recipe to please the general public or to comply with market study results.
That’s why each niche brand has developed a story, an olfactory range, a choice of namesthat perfectly embody the fragrance’s characteristics and targets a public sensitive to its story or the clear inspiration behind it. Did you know that the story of Gellé Frères draws its roots in 1774, with Jean-Louis Fargeon, official perfumer to the court of Versailles and Queen Marie-Antoinette?
Atypical, exclusive and rare, niche perfumes possess a very strong identity that strives to be evocative and charming for its clientele. On the other hand, traditional perfumeries are known for endless declinations of successful perfumes.
However, it must be said that the status quo isn’t as clear-cut anymore. In light of the recent success of niche fragrances, major brands have also started creating limited or exclusive collections, special series that compete with niche fragrances and even borrow some of their characteristics: names evocative of raw materials, a single bottle for all fragrances, a more distinctive character… While this may be a bit confusing for consumers, this trend has paradoxically lent greater legitimacy to niche fragrance creators. In a world where one can easily be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of fragrances on the market, niche fragrances remain easy to identify due to their creative freedom. They stand out thanks to the quality of their components and lasting intensity, an attribute highly appreciated by all.