Interior fragrances are fast becoming must-have accessories for trendy Chinese luxury shoppers. Candles, essential oils, diffusers, and even potpourri are now being showcased in many concept stores and brand flagships in major cities across China.
Some of this interest is cultural. Perfuming the interior has a long history in China that stretches between the 3rd century B.C. and the 19th century A.D, and fragrances and incense have traditionally been used for rituals, philosophy and meditation practices, and toiletry, among other purposes.
Ancient incense and fragrance burners were often made into beautiful decorative objects that would represent a certain level of status. In fact, an exhibition titled “Perfumes of China, the culture of incense in imperial times” at Musée Cernuschi was held in Paris recently on the subject of these treasures.
“Home fragrance is booming in China for three reasons,” said Chinese millennial Grasse institute of perfumery student, Wanqiu Chen. “First, the Chinese have burnt incense ever since the Han Dynasty. Second, there are more home fragrance choices than ever before. And lastly, the marketing strategies for perfume and fragrances has been very strong lately, with a lots of celebrities and KOLs sharing their decor and candle purchases on Chinese social media.”
The new trend in perfumes and fragrances in China mines the country’s rich heritage of scents while giving them with a Western twist. Here are some examples of brands or stores that are running with this hot new trend, not just to push perfumes to an affluent Chinese market, but also to offer luxury customers the most comprehensive universe of lifestyle options they could ever want.
“L’Art de Vivre” with Dior @ Deji Mall in Nanjing
Dior has embraced the scented candle trend to help promote its Dior Parfum collection while also further strengthening its expertise in the booming scent field.
The famous French fashion and beauty brand recently developed a pop-up at the Deji luxury mall in Nanjing that was completely devoted to its fragrances. Framed photos, bookshelves, and Dior candles decorated the pop-up, giving it a luxurious and homey atmosphere, and the ‘minimalist chic’ of the all-white pop-up set off the soft-colored scented candles beautifully.
While there, Chinese shoppers were able to discover different fragrances and workout their olfactory muscles at Dior’s “fragrance bar”. Dior candle scents complement their fragrances, but they also offer differing intensities and personalities. Put together, the brand’s scents communicate the refined expertise that Christian Dior always offers in luxury lifestyle, and at $130 (900RMB), they’re an easy splurge for luxury buyers. Elegant box sets that couple candles and fragrances were also available.
It smells like home @ Diptyque
Diptyque is a perfect example of how scented candles have boomed in China. The French brand and boutique scent house has seen huge success in the Chinese Market recently, thanks to strong promotional work and smart KOL endorsements. Now, they’re considered one of luxury shoppers’ favorite brands for scents, particularly for their scented candles.
“As a niche brand, Diptyque is quite different from other niche brands,” said Chen. “Diptyque feels homier, and they have products that somehow cover all your needs. It feels closer to you and your home.”
But what really aided the brand in local markets was their Shanghai limited edition scented candle. The candle—priced at $90 (600RMB)—sold out within a few days, and the brand decided to relaunch it after months of being sold out due to demand. At the luxury goods shop Lane Crawford Shanghai, a Diptyque representative informed us that the candles were their best sellers.
Using traditional Chinese ingredients like green tea and Osmanthus was a winning recipe for Chinese consumers, and the candle packaging, which pays elegant tribute to Chinese heritage in its design, was also a hit with nostalgic Chinese millennials.
The Beast, Shanghai
The Beast Shop is a savvy brand spotter that has different types of concept shops in China, some more dedicated to home furniture and decoration and others more focused on amenities and lifestyle objects.
Due to the growing popularity of scents, the store expanded its offerings from solely carrying flowers to now selling a full range of olfactory products, including some single candles priced as high as $350 (2460RMB). Today, you can find interior scents and fragrances at Beast from top luxury fragrance brands such as Volupsa, Cire Trudon, Carrieres frères, Fornassetti Profum, and Culti.
And now, with a strong position of expertise in the field, The Beast has developed its own brand of scented products which includes incense diffusers, candles and more.
Until recently, Chinese luxury consumers only bought perfume and fragrance because of their brand names—purchases that were less about the scents and more about the status of the brands. But now, younger consumers want to know how to fragrance their interiors as part of their holistic luxury lifestyles, and thanks to social media, this demand continues to blossom.