The perfume market in Asia Pacific is set to grow by US$ 6.81 billion from 2021-2027, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 10.3 percent, according to data and analytics company StrategyHelix.
Rising disposable incomes and improving standards of living are expected to boost the sales of fragrance in the region in the coming years, coupled with the increase in consciousness among consumers about personal wellness and appearance, the research firm added.
Another driver of fragrance sales in the region is the sensory lift experienced by scent, which has seen luxury fragrance popularity surge during Covid-19 – as consumers look to fragrance as an indulgent splurge in times of economic uncertainty and personal hardship.
With perfume’s accessible price point and its ability to boost a mood in a world that feels chaotic, fragrance brands are reaping the rewards. And not just traditional luxury houses and their respective perfume lines.
According to Bluebell Group’s 2021 “Asia Lifestyle Consumer Profile” (ALCP) study, between 69 percent and 75 percent of consumers across Asia surveyed said they were interested in exploring more niche fragrance brands. Of those surveyed, 72 percent to 95 percent said they were more interested in brands that are immersed in the culture of their country.
The move away from traditional luxury brands is weaponizing a new breed of fragrance brands in Asia – made in Asia scents, that evoke the traditions and flavours of Asia, for Asian consumers that seek quality, yet yearn for nostalgia.
This will be the focus of our Fragrance Edit series that we are kicking off with this first article about emerging Asian fragrance brands. Interviews with some of these niche fragrance brand founders and more market insights will follow in the next instalments of our Fragrance Edit series. Stay tuned!
From China to Singapore, South Korea to Japan, here are ten emerging Asian fragrance brands to know right.
1. Maison 21G
Singapore’s Maison 21G was created to disrupt the mass market fragrance industry, enabling customers to create their own signature scent. The company was founded in 2020 by former International Flavors and Fragrances director, Johanna Monange, who has over 20 years of experience in fragrance.
The bespoke perfume house uses artificial intelligence and engineering to create independent fragrances weighing 21 grams (thus the name), dispensing intermediaries and streamlining the process for clients. Its Parisian-style perfumes can be created in store at its Marina Bay Sands location, and along Singapore’s Duxton and Orchard Roads, as well as online. The brand also opened a store in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in October 2021 and plans to launch in Korea, China and the Middle East later this year.
2. Maison Dixsept
China’s Maison Dixsept is a niche perfume brand launched in December 2020 by founder and creative director Catherine Zhou. Born out of a response to provide niche luxury fragrance to Chinese millennials and Gen Zs, Maison Dixsept offers five perfumes – M17 L’eau, Shanghai Vibe, Before & After, Le Bonheur, and Sway With Me, in a chic minimalist design that oozes French style. The company also retails a M17 L’eau diffuser, as a part of its home fragrance range.
Documents is a high-end niche fragrance company from China, known for its mix-and-match perfume varieties, as well as its eau fraiche perfumes. Opening its first flagship store on Huaihai Road Shanghai in July 2021, Documents noirish branding is dark and mysterious, making it a compelling (and highly Instagrammable) retail experience for young Chinese consumers looking for a uniquely aesthetic event while luxury fragrance shopping.
Founded in 2020, Seoul-based Nonfiction creates fragrances in collaboration with top-tier creators for a “unique fragrance narrative”. Nonfiction’s signature fragrances Gentle Night, In The Shower, Forget Me Not, and Santal Cream offer natural, earthy scents to consumers that are clean and void of parabens and sulphates. Nonfiction boasts three Seoul stores – Hannam, Busang and Seongsu – and is stocked internationally at Sephora and Ssense.com, with other global stockists to come.
5. Maison de L’Asie
Singapore’s Maison de L’Asie is a luxury niche fragrance house producing modern, unique fragrances that fuse French perfumery traditions with Asian influences.
Founded in 2020 by Elizabeth Liau, whose background is finance and the arts, Maison de L’Asie launched with its Singapore-inspired Chapter One fragrance collection, backing up with Chapter two, a collection of perfume inspired by the scents of Indonesia. Both are shoppable via the company’s website, with retail store locations on the horizon.
Founded in 2013 in Shanghai, Reclassified is a fragrance brand that describes itself as a “philosophical and aesthetic feast” for perfume shoppers in China, offering both high quality and affordable fragrances. In 2016, the Chinese brand launched its DIY Perfumery Service designed by its in-house R&D team, allowing shoppers to concoct their own personalised fragrance for a unique touch.
By the end of 2018, Reclassified boasted more than 100 stores in mainland China, across 59 cities. Its growth has also attracted external investors. In 2021, Shanghai Xiangmiao Trade Co, the owner of Reclassified, received an undisclosed investment amount from the private equity arm of CITIC Capital, a move which looks to further expand Reclassified globally.
Founded in 2011, China’s Wegoo is a fragrance maker specialising in perfumes for Asian women. The direct-to-consumer perfumer creates fragrances from fresh flora and fruity aromas, drawing inspiration from Chinese poetry and artistic heritage, seen in its aptly named perfume, Sweet Osmanthus Rain.
Japan’s Coloria is an online fragrance subscription service that allows subscribers to receive a monthly box delivery to their homes, starting at $17/month. Founded in 2019, the Tokyo company’s platform has all types of fragrance items such as perfumes, room fragrances, and bath goods from both big-name perfumers and nice fragrance makers. It is backed by Japanese venture capital firm, Anri.
9. Oola Lab
Founded in 2016 by 20 year-fragrance veteran Terry Jacobson, Oola Lab is a “community-orientated platform” designed to educate visitors about fragrances and how they are made. In addition, the Singapore company offers clients tools to craft their expressions with fragrance from an array of 27 notes – top, middle and base — reflecting personalisation and self-expression in scent. Currently online-only, Oola Lab ships domestically, as well as to the UK, U.S. and the UAE.
10. To Summer
To Summer is a Chinese fragrance brand co-founded in 2018 by former fashion editor, Shen Li and e-commerce veteran, Huipu Liu. The fragrance brand retails some 20 different fragrances, which are offered in the form of perfumes, diffusers and candles, and has accrued a cult-following due to its exclusivity, with products only available for purchase directly from To Summer’s official WeChat account, or from its pop-up stores in Tai Koo Li mall, or Lane Crawford, in Beijing.