The development of online channels has fundamentally reshaped the beauty market in China and impacted the fragrance category as well. Chinese consumers have adopted an online discovery and purchase journey for fragrances, as 70% of respondents have purchased fragrances on domestic comprehensive shopping websites (vs 52% in beauty counters/specialty stores); and 64% of respondents claim they would check product reviews online when buying new fragrances (vs 54% who would visit a store to trial the product).

This presents both opportunities and challenges for the fragrance category. On the one hand, it’s now much easier for fragrance brands, especially niche fragrances, to reach a larger consumer base, as they are not limited by physical sampling; on the other hand, how to evoke the sense of smell and help consumers find the right fragrance on online channels has become a top priority. Smell is not the only way to appreciate a fragrance and brands could help consumers make decisions based on other sensory experiences, such as sights and sounds.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • Changes in purchase and usage of fragrances

  • Purchase channels of fragrances

  • Purchase journey of fragrances/what consumers would do before buying new fragrances

  • Important purchase factors of fragrances


For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Fragrances include perfume extract, eau de parfum, eau de toilette and eau de cologne with a concentration of essence from 3%-40%. Mintel uses the terms ‘perfume/perfumes’ and ‘fragrance/fragrances’ synonymously in this Report.

  • Personal and home care products offering fragrance as an additional benefit (such as scented soap/shower gel/body lotion, aftershave, scented candles, and diffusers) are not included in the definition, but may also be discussed throughout the Report where relevant.

  • Market size comprises sales through all retail channels including duty-free channels. It does not cover sales in the C2C market (eg WeChat business or Taobao).

Sub-group definitions (by monthly personal income)

Mintel divides consumers into three groups based on their monthly personal income.

Tier one cities Tier two and lower cities
High personal income RMB10,000 and above RMB9,000 and above
Mid personal income RMB6,000-9,999 RMB5,000-8,999
Low personal income RMB5,999 and below RMB4,999 and below
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