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Parfum for the course: FFA to ‘bridge’ gap between commercial Western and traditional East

Parfum for the course: FFA to ‘bridge’ gap between commercial Western and traditional East

What with the establishment of the Fragrance Foundation and the FiFi Awards, is the regional fragrance industry there yet? Kipp explores.

July 18, 2011 3:56 by

It should come as no surprise that the Middle East has the biggest perfume consumption per capita in the world. After all the art of concocting ointments and perfumes is a much treasured age-old tradition in the region; something documented in the folklore of ancient Arabian stories. And though there may be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Middle East is predisposed to having a thriving fragrance industry, the question is does the Middle East have the right kind of infrastructure set up to support a burgeoning fragrance industry?

Skin deep, the immediate answer to that question would be not yet. Take for instance the well established Fragrance Foundation which was established in the West a good seventy odd years ago; its Middle Easter chapter, Fragrance Foundation Arabia, was created only a couple years back. And though this is a step in the right direction, Kipp wonders just how much more the regional industry has to go? Should the Fragrance Foundation Arabia be taking cue points from its Western counterparts? Nobody understands this pressing need to develop existing infrastructure for the region-specific industry more than Fragrance Foundation Arabia chairman Shahzad Haider.

Which is the reason why earlier this week the FFA announced the first ever Middle East Fragrance Summit (MEFS) to be held later this year. The summit, titled “Bridging Innovation” seeks to unite major players from the fragrance industry including retailers, manufacturers and bottlers from all over the world in order to exchange and share information.

And though Kipp seemed a bit cynical about the regional fragrance industry readiness, FFA Chairman Haider wasn’t. He told Kipp that while he believes the Middle East has a lot to learn about the sophistication Western fragrance industry enjoy as a result of their long commercialised history, he thinks the West still has a lot to learn from the Middle East as far as understanding regional consumers’ tastes, trends and habits are concerned.

After all, according a report released by the Fragrance Foundation Arabia (FFA) it is estimated that consumption of perfumes in the Middle East per capita amounts to a grand figure of $380 annually, making it one of the largest in the world. And with experts expecting the years the Middle East fragrance market to jump from $3.5 billion to $10 billion over the next five years

With estimates like that, Kipp suspects that revenues alone may just see the optimism that Haider has for the international exchange between different fragrance industries occuring at an exceptional pace.

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