Brazil‘s roaring fragrance market is the largest in the world, and the country has an incredibly strong perfume culture. I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look at the figures, what sells, who buys, and the best-selling fragrances for both men and women.
As always, I would like to stress that I have no background in finance, economics, marketing, or anything remotely mathematical in nature. I do not claim to be an expert on any of those things, there are limits to how comprehensive I can be in a single article, and I write about what interests me, as well as what I have access to. If you are more interested in another country, you can always check my prior pieces on the U.S. and international fragrance markets, the late 2013 U.S. industry figures, the global fragrance market, and the celebrity perfume industry. Finally, please note that all of my articles focus on the commercial fragrance markets, not the niche one.
THE OVERALL ECONOMIC FIGURES:
Brazil is a country that adores fragrance and, as a result, it is the largest perfume market in the world. Every research group I’ve seen makes that last point, often in a tone of great admiration. To quote a Cosmetics Design article from March 2014:
By 2013 Brazil was already the most valuable fragrances market in the world, worth more than US$6 billion, built on the back of high per capita consumption as Brazilians use, on average, three times more fragrances by volume than consumers in the U.S., the next most valuable market.
It is such a valuable market than five of the major fragrance houses in the country (being Givaudan, IFF, Firmenich, Symrise and Takasago) invested around R$160 million in Brazil in recent years, making Sao Paolo one of the most important cities in the world in terms of development of fragrances, behind only New York and Paris.
The aromachemical giants’ investment has paid off. If you read my prior pieces on U.S. and global sales, you will see that each company points to Brazil as one reason for their strong sales in the emerging markets. In a few cases, those emerging market figures have helped boost the company’s overall bottom line quite substantially.
The Luxury Activist website has compiled some overall figures for the beauty industry in Brazil, based on reports from Euromonitor and a wide variety of other sources:
Top Beauty segments in Brazil in 2012 by sales
- Hair care products: 4 billion US$
- Alcoholic Fragrances: 2.7 Billion US$
- Men’s Shaving products: 2 Billion US$
- Deodorants: 1.7 billion US$
- Bath products: 1.7 billion US$
- Children beauty products: 0.6 Billion US$
Alcoholic Fragrances and deodorants have been growing by 15% every year on the past 5 years.
According to a recent Premium Beauty News article, Brazil’s fragrance industry is so profitable that it is actually one of the driving forces for the growth of the global market as a whole:
Brazil was among the fastest growing markets in the last five years, with CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 13.6% in local currency terms. While growth will slow over the next five years, Brazil will retain leadership of the global fragrance market, forecast for sales of $5.1 billion in 2017.
For Brazilians, wearing fragrance has become a daily ritual, with 90% owning and 84% wearing it regularly. [Emphasis in the original.]
WHAT SELLS & WHO BUYS IT:
The Cosmetics Design report talks about who is buying perfume and the reasons why. It mentions how men play a key role in terms of perfume sales, “consuming 48.7% of fragrances by volume.” Furthermore, even the poor buy a lot of perfume, almost as much as the very richest households in terms of overall quantity. What drives all this? The article quotes a finding by the Canadean research firm that consumers seek “‘to affirm particular visions of femininity or masculinity, including the use fragrances [sic] to deliberately break gender stereotypes[.]'” However, consumers are also motivated by a desire to try novel, new scents and/or to pamper themselves.
Most of these scents are not expensive ones. According to Euromonitor, 90% of fragrances purchased by the Brazilians are mass-market creations! As a whole, two national brands control 60% of the market share, Natura and O Boticario. Remember the aromachemical companies and the R$160 million that they’ve spent on expansion? Well, according to the Euromonitor, they’re making fragrances for the Brazilian national companies, in addition to creating some for international brands.
I found a 2010 Euromonitor PDF report which gives a little more information on perfume sales and, in particular, best-selling brands:
In common with many other categories in Brazilian beauty and personal care, fragrance sales are typified by a very low presence of premium brands. In Brazil, the premium segment accounts for a mere 6% of the total fragrances market, and the best-selling brands are primarily those from mass-priced direct sellers such as Avon and Oriflame. This is in stark contrast to most other countries with a value market of equal size to Brazil: in the USA, for example, premium brands accounted for 79% in 2008. The difference stems again from the high taxes on luxury goods in Brazil, and also the comparatively far lower disposable incomes. [Emphasis added by me.]
While most perfume sales in Brazil center on mass-market local creations, the more recent Euromonitor report indicates that there is a possibility for consumers to start buying international and more expensive fragrances from the premium sector. Generally speaking, and based on what I have seen when the term is used for American sales, the “premium” sector seems to center on fragrances in the US $60-$80 range, while luxury appears to be defined as those priced at a little over $100. However, that is merely my personal observation, and is limited to U.S. pricing.
Brazilian pricing is significantly more inflated because the country imposes a whopping tariff on imported goods. The tax is well over 40%, so many consumers go abroad to purchase their high-end perfume. “In fact, the average price for premium fragrances in Brazil is more than double that of the US, at over US$100 per 50ml.” So, when the Euromonitor is talking about Brazilians possibly move away from mainstream, local scents into more expensive perfumery, there is a definite obstacle in their path.
On the other hand, Sephora has recently arrived in Brazil, and is sure to have an impact on sales of “premium” fragrances. The Euromonitor states:
While there are undoubtedly difficult challenges for premium fragrance brands to overcome in order to get a strong foothold in Brazil’s fragrance loving-market, Sephora’s presence is sure to shake up the field. As the use of fragrances is deeply embedded in the country, Brazil is forecast to not only have the highest volume per capita in 2016, but also to be the third highest spending country in per capita terms, behind only the Netherlands and Switzerland. [Emphasis added by me.]
PREMIUM FRAGRANCE BEST-SELLERS: THE TOP 30 FOR MEN & WOMEN:
I find all these numbers and figures useful, but they don’t really give me a good sense or feel of what it is like for the average perfume lover in Brazil. I don’t know Portuguese, so I’m hindered in trying to get a more micro understanding of the culture, but I found it interesting to browse the perfume section of Sephora Brasil‘s website. There, they have the horrifying Nicki Minaj perfume bottle, along with Joop!, Taylor Swift‘s Wonderstruck rollerball, and Azzaro men’s fragrances. Sephora also seems to have an exclusive for Guerlain (La Petite Robe Noire seems to be successful, as it is everywhere) and Armani creations.
What gave me a slightly better sense of what is going on was the Luxury Activist‘s list of best-selling fragrances. I assume he is talking solely about international “premium” perfumes, since the other reports listed above state that 90% of fragrances purchased by the Brazilians are mass-market creations and only 6% are “premium” brands. So, do keep that in mind when you read the list.
According to the site, Brazil’s Top 30 best-selling women’s (premium) fragrances in 2012 are:
- J’Adore – Christian Dior with 4.9% of market shares
- 212 VIP – Carolina Herrera
- Flower by Kenzo – Kenzo
- CH – Carolina Herrera
- 212 Carolina Herrera
- Hypnôse – Lancôme
- 212 Sexy – Carolina Herrera
- Lady Million – Paco Rabanne
- Ange ou Demon – Givenchy
- Ck One – Calvin Klein
- Dolce & Gabbana – Dolce & Gabbana
- Ck Be – Calvin Klein
- L’Eau d’Issey – Isssey Myake
- Tommy Girl – Tommy Hilfiger
- Gabriela Sabatini – Gabriela Sabatini
- Amor Amor – Cacharel
- Black XS for her – Paco Rabanne
- Very Irresistible -Givenchy
- Nina – Nina Ricci
- Armani Code for women – Giorgio Armani
- Dior Addict 2 – Christian Dior
- Angel – Thierry Mugler
- Diesel Fuel for Life for Her – Diesel
- Anais Anais – Cacharel
- Kenzo Amour -Kenzo
- Femme – Montblanc
- Eternity – Calvin Klein
- Amarige – Givenchy
- Lolita Lempicka – Lolita Lempicka
- Organza – Givenchy
In analysing the top 30 of best selling feminine fragrances, here is what we can say from a olfactory taste point of view. 40% of these fragrances are floral fragrances. J’Adore by Dior, Very Irresistible or Anais Anais are the floral spectrum of brazilian women taste for florals. Anaïs Anaïs has been in the top selling fragrances for decades in Brazil, along with Chanel N.5 and the modern florals like J’Adore and Very Irresistible, have taken the lead.
Nevertheless, we can see that Orientals and modern orientals represent now 32% of best selling fragrances, which is new. In deed, Fragrances like Hypnôse by Lancôme, Black XS for Her and even Angel by Thierry Mugler, have found their place in a market getting more and more mature and sophisticated. […][¶]
At last, we can see that brands like Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Givenchy have several fragrances in the top 30. These 3 brands invested the brazilian market for a very long time and they are very powerful there. [Emphasis added by me.]
For the men, the Luxury Activist has this top 30 list for 2012:
- Azzaro pour homme – Azzaro
- Ferrari Black – Ferrari Profumi
- One Million – Paco Rabanne
- 212 Men NYC – Carolina Herrera
- Joop! Homme – Joop
- 212 VIP – Carolina Herrera
- Kouros – Yves Saint Laurent
- Polo – Ralph Lauren
- Hugo – Hugo Boss
- Polo Blue – Ralph Lauren
- CH Men – Carolina Herrera
- 212 Sexy Men – Carolina Herrera
- The One for men – Dolce & Gabbana
- Black XS – Paco Rabanne
- Acqua di Gio pour homme – Giorgio Armani
- Montblanc – Montblanc
- Polo Black – Ralph Lauren
- L’Eau d’Issey pour homme – Issey Miyake
- Fahrenheit – Christian Dior
- Lacoste Essential – Lacoste
- Armani Code – Giorgio Armani
- Tommy – Tommy Hilfiger
- Le Mâle – Jean Paul Gaultier
- Dolce & Gabbana pour homme – Dolce & Gabbana
- Kenzo pour homme – Kenzo
- Ck One – Calvin Klein
- Diesel Fuel for Life for him – Diesel
- Euphoria Men Intense – Calvin Klein
- Eternity for men – Calvin Klein
- Play – Givenchy
The masculine market is more traditional with best sellers like Azzaro, Polo, Kouros, Fahrenheit or even Hugo. All fragrances with more than 20 years old. Carolina Herrera, Paco Rabanne and Calvin Klein have also a strong dominance. 3 main olfactory structures share the market. Little advantage with Aromatic structures leading the market by 42%, followed by Woody fragrances by 31% and Orientals for 27%.
The arrival of One Million by Paco Rabanne at the 3rd place represents a new entry, which is less aromatic and more oriental despite of some woody and yet fresh-aromatic start.
The Luxury Activist has the most detailed, lengthy list of anything I’ve seen thus far, but the Perfume Shrine has something rather similar for the female best-sellers, though not for the men. According to the Perfume Shrine (which is using NPD information and the testimony of two individuals, including Renata Acshcar who runs Brazil’s Museum of Perfume), the top 3 best-sellers for men in 2012 were:
- Paco Rabanne pour Homme
- Polo by Ralph Lauren
- 212 Men (Carolina Herrera)
What I found more interesting there was the discussion in the comments. Specifically, the concrete example from one Brazilian, “Henrique/Rick,” about just how much more expensive the “prestige” fragrances can be in Brazil:
About the taxes, to have an idea of how much more we pay, a normal Carolina Herrera Scent in the 100ml bottle can easily cost the price of a Chanel Exclusif in USA (and a Chanel Exclusif in the 200ml bottle cost something around 430-440 dollars).
It’s obviously an astronomical difference from the prices of the same products in America. As Henrique/Rick stated in his comment, without that huge tariff, Brazilians would undoubtedly spend even more than they already do.
ALL IN ALL:
Brazil’s passion for perfumery across every socio-economic strata leaves many other countries in the dust. The only thing stopping it from having even more explosive numbers is their taxes. Without that, Brazil would probably be the answer to niche perfume houses world-wide, as would several other Latin American countries in similar situations. (Mexico is another strong market for commercial fragrances and for scented products as a whole. Argentina also has a difficult tariff problem.)
Companies who want to get ahead should — and undoubtedly will — follow the path of the aromachemical giants and invest more heavily in Brazil.