Perfume consumption in China has more than doubled in the recent four years. According to iResearch, the market grew from 6.16 billion RMB in 2017 to 12.53 billion in 2020. Part of the reason for such a rapid growth in this market is the COVID-19 quarantine period when people started paying more attention to their in-house living quality and began to realize perfume served as an effective way to elevate it.
Based on Vogue’s article on “China's perfume opportunity", 80% of the perfume market in China is controlled by European-listed companies which we will be covering in the following paragraphs. The market is booming and there’s even more room to grow, for the fact that in 2019, China made up only 2.5% of the global perfume consumption.
For most consumers, personally smelling the fragrance is the best way to judge whether it is to their liking. However, not every city has perfume boutiques, therefore some brands have started working with KOLs who would describe the smell to their followers. But again, fragrance is a personal and objective item that people might have different preferences on. Therefore, fragrance brands are constantly adapting their strategy and finding effective ways to guide people to conversion on online channels.
Online channels are important especially in China, and here are some of the ways that luxury perfume brands have upped their e-commerce game to attract and engage customers.
Chanel Correspondences Perfume Exhibition
Chanel’s seamless online-to-offline journey with a dedicated exhibition WeChat mini program.
Chanel held a perfume exhibition from August 22 to September 23 in Shanghai, which is its first stop for this “global tour”. This exhibition commemorates the 100th birthday of their signature scent Chanel No. 5 and seeks to embody a “connection between the East and the West”, believing that perfume “opens the way for you to feel everything.”
Chanel created a seamless online-to-offline flow with a mini program dedicated to this exhibition. The brand promotes this offline event on its WeChat account, with articles announcing the launch.
Users can browse through Chanel’s digital magazines and subscribe to them. Every issue is assigned with a Chinese celebrity talking about things that are special to them, such as a destination, a sound, a color or a flower. At the end of the interview, they name a perfume from Chanel that they like most.
Users can also use the mini program at the exhibition by reading the introduction on the 7 rooms or listening to an audio guide by scanning the on-site QR codes.
To help users learn more about the history, craftsmanship, and advertising campaigns of its perfume in an engaging and interactive way, the mini program also has a “FILM” section showcasing different videos about the signature Chanel No. 5.
One day after users visit the exhibition, they will receive a broadcast message inviting them to finish a questionnaire regarding their experience at the exhibition. By September 16, only 77 users had clicked the message, not to mention the number of users who had spent time finishing the questionnaire.
YSL’s User-Get-User Social Campaign
By sharing YSL perfume-related content on the lifestyle app RED (XiaoHongShu), users can collect “outfits” and earn gifts.
Users can go to YSL’s MP to pick an image with an outfit and its corresponding YSL perfume. By posting the chosen image on the lifestyle app RED, with the caption promoting the time and content of this activity, users can earn gifts.
This social campaign emphasizes registration (i.e. data binding on WeChat) and builds up YSL’s organic presence on RED through KOC (Key Opinion Consumers). The brand emphasizes its fashion legacy by associating each fragrance with an outfit. It encourages consumers to identify their own personal style with YSL by asking them to post their favorite outfits on RED.
Users are sharing YSL’s perfumes on RED.
Acqua Di Parma & Atelier Cologne: Try Before You Buy (Just Pay For Shipping)
For many consumers, it is hard for them to learn a perfume from written description or even from a KOLs’ introduction. They still want to try the perfume personally before spending the money. But as mentioned before, not every city has perfume boutiques, so Acqua Di Parma and Atelier Cologne started sending users free sample sizes of the perfume and only asking them to pay for shipping.
The two brands promote this deal front-and-center on their MPs in the “Pay For Shipping and Try It Out” section. For Atelier Cologne, the only option for consumers is to pay 19 RMB for a sample (1.7ml) whereas for Acqua Di Parma, there are two different options. One is to pay a 50 RMB shipping fee for two samples (1.5ml for each one), and the other is to pay 50 RMB for a bigger sample (3.8ml). (But to be honest, 50 RMB is quite expensive for shipping fees in China).
Both of their shipment fees are a bit higher than the average prices on the market. Especially with the prevalence of second-hand platforms such as Xianyu (咸鱼), it is hard to predict whether this promotional effort will be popular among consumers.
Gucci Perfume: Send Gifts with Personalized Messages
This feature is available for all of Gucci’s product categories, not only for its perfume.
After users select a product as a gift, they can record a voice memo or type a message that goes along with the gift. This personalizes the consumers’ shopping experience and also leverages the social feature of WeChat.
Diptyque: Le Grand Tour Shanghai Perfume Exhibition
To celebrate Diptyque’s 60-year birthday, the brand is holding an offline exhibition in Shanghai from September 11 to October 7. Same as Chanel’s Correspondences Exhibition, the only way to gain access is through the brand’s MP.
Other than the booking function, the MP also has a brand value introduction, a guide to its commercial MP where users can purchase perfumes, and a tour guide for the event.
Aside from the exhibition, Diptyque also has offline guest speaker salons for users to attend, which requires booking in advance through the MP. There are 5 salons, each with different limited collections such as Paris, Venice, Miles, Kyoto and Byblos. But they are all fully booked by the middle of September.
No matter if they are offline events, OTO or gamification, these tactics encourage users to learn more about brands by having more interaction with them. Even if it's just a booking mini program, brands embed related background and materials in it, helping users to build their interpretation towards their perfumes.