Retail in Asia

In Telligence

South Korean duty free perfume allowance to rise from 60ml to 100ml

The Ministry of Economy and Finance announced on Wednesday that the duty free perfume allowance will be increased from 60ml to 100ml effective 1 January.

The change is the first since the allowance was set in 1979 and will come as a welcome boost for travel retailers as sales of high-end and niche fragrances continue to prosper.

SEE ALSO: Estée Lauder invests in Chinese fragrance brand Melt Season via venture fund

“It will help drive perfume sales up. In Korea, niche perfumes are getting more popular among young people,” a leading Korean travel retailer said.

“While many of the high-end fashion, accessories, watches & jewellery brands are leaving downtown duty free stores, retailers are working hard to introduce new niche perfumes to attract luxury consumers.”

As fragrance sales surge in South Korea, Chanel recently partnered with Shinsegae Duty Free to open a holiday-themed mega podium at Incheon International Airport Terminal 2. The eye-catching podium called Chanel Wonderland is described as the largest in a duty free store in Asia – standing at 7m in height and occupying 130sq m of space.

Respected online title Herald Business commented, “There are expectations that sales will increase dramatically along with the popularity of premium perfumes.”

The report continued: “The perfume market has grown steadily since COVID-19 due to the ‘small luxury’ craze and the increase in the MZ generation who are interested in personal tastes. In particular, the growth of premium perfumes, also known as ‘niche perfumes’, was notable.

“In fact, Lotte Department Store’s niche perfume sales increased by +15 percent from January to November of this year compared to the previous year. Hyundai Department Store also continues this popular trend, showing a sales growth rate of +28.5 percent.”

The report also quoted findings from a study conducted by The Shilla Duty Free of purchases made by Korean travellers from January to November this year:

  • 71.7 percent of those purchasing small quantities of 10ml were in their 20s and 30s
  • The age group with the highest proportion of 85ml (35.5 percent) and 90ml (31.4 percent) purchases was in their 40s.

“This phenomenon can be interpreted as showing how individuality is expressed in different ways depending on spending power,” the report said.

The report noted how The Shilla Duty Free has responded to surging perfume consumption, particularly among the MZ generation, by opening a speciality store simply called Perfume at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1 in November.

The shop offers 58 popular domestic and foreign brands, including Byredo, Le Labo, Creed, and Aqua di Parma.