With a 26% increase over the last four years, according to The NPD Group, the niche market is as popular as ever. But is this dynamic capable of absorbing an ever growing abundance of brands and with a number of launches that seems to be increasing even more?
Silvio Lévi, founder and director of the show estimates the niche perfumery potential to about one billion euros in Europe, with, he notes, however, great disparities between countries. “All markets are not nearly as strong as Italy where, thanks to a large number of independent perfumeries, alternative perfumes can expect gaining 1,8% of the beauty market. While in France where, apart from Paris, the alternative network is very limited, this market share is only of 0.5%,” he explained.
Each year, after approval of a committee of nine experts, the show welcomes new brands or with developing ranges. The 2016 edition hosted about 200 brands including 15 newcomers. “There was a massive arrival of new brands but with no true stories behind them,” nuanced Johann Vitrey, director of Sesame, a retail company specialized in the Middle East. For him, the notion of niche should only be expressed in the plural form. “There are different categories: perfume brands, conceptual brands around a story, heritage brands and finally experimental brands. Within these definitions, launching a niche brand should really involve some risk taking in order to offer never seen before or differentiating perfumes,” he added.
While in 2015, newcomers were often French and Italian, the 2016 edition confirmed the massive presence of brands from the Middle East (The Spirit of Dubai, The Gate, Amouroud, Hadara...) or operating in this market, indeed a big perfume buyer. “Yet the arrival of this Oriental wave seems to be out of step,” noted David Frossard, founder of Différentes Latitudes. “Two or three years are necessary to properly develop a brand and unfortunately, within this time frame, the economic and political context has changed, the Middle East market has become less promising and consumers from this region are travelling less to Europe,” he explained.
A reference event for all international players in niche perfumery, Esxence 2016 perfectly reflects the flourishing creativity of this perfume sector with many facets but which is still questioning itself about its future.