SEOUL Jan. 19 (Korea Bizwire) – The market for niche perfumes in South Korea has grown steadily in the past few years as a consumer mindset centering on the acquisition of “minor luxuries” and devotion to the highlighting of personal taste and artistic inclination has bloomed.
According to industry insiders, sales of niche perfumes at Hyundai Department Stores have made large strides since 2015, increasing by 20.1 percent, 19.1 percent and 28.6 percent per year since then.
Overall, the rate at which customers are snapping up niche perfumes has gone up at a furious pace, outperforming designer perfumes sales with growth of 36.2 percent, 44.3 percent and 39.6 percent on a yearly basis from 2015 to 2017.
Niche perfumes refer to fragrances often released by boutique shops that offer differentiated scents from the major designer perfumes that come from the large fashion houses.
Due to their relative scarcity and appealing array of smells, niche perfumes are comparatively more expensive. Some of the leading brands peddling niche perfumes are Diptyque, Jo Malone and Byredo.
The popularity of these scents is clear when considering the uptick in niche perfume brands available at department stores. Hyundai Department Store, for instance, expanded its offerings from 10 brands in 2012 to 28 by last year.
At its Pangyo and Trade Center locations, aficionados can head straight to the specially designated “niche perfume zone” to try out the latest sweet-smelling scents on offer.
A perfume buyer for Hyundai Department Store told Yonhap News, “Niche perfumes have become more widely desired as more and more people want to be able to express their individuality through personalized fragrances.”
With South Korean consumers growing increasingly savvy in the use of online shopping portals, niche perfume purchases online have skyrocketed; e-commerce platform 11st generated over 100 percent sales growth in 2015 and 2016 before dropping to 3 percent in 2017.
A spokesperson for 11st explained that the surge is due to niche perfumes being identified as one subcategory of “minor luxuries” that are the object of consumer affections. The spokesperson added that heftier price tags have not deterred a steady inflow of demand from devotees.
Powerhouses in the fragrance industry have taken notice of South Korea’s burgeoning dalliances with diverse perfumes. Estée Lauder, through acquisitions of boutique firms Le Labo, Frederic Malle and By Kilian, have been active players in the domestic niche market scene since last September.
L’Oréal and LVMH also began selling their own niche perfume products starting in 2016 and 2017, respectively
Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)