Perfume Consumption in India: An Exploratory Study

Perfume Consumption in India: An Exploratory Study

David James Bamber, Clay Alex Gransden
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7906-9.ch004
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Perfumes have been important in India for millennia and so have the stories connected with them. The perfume business in India is worth billions ($). A background from which the Indian perfume industry can be understood in terms of the Berger's STEPP model, the consumers' cognitive schemas, consumers' behaviors, and the story of the product, brand, and their customers' stories. Three sets of themes—product perceptions, concerns, and consumers' lifestyle—are identified, each with their own sub-themes that are antecedents to perfume purchasing behavior. Segments in the Indian perfume market are also identified. Each consumer segment has their own behavioral nuances and they consider different aspects of the perfume product taking into account their own income and aspects of the three themes and 19 sub-themes. It is important for perfume marketing managers to consider each aspect of the STEPPs modeland for the Indian government to locate and develop a “Place of Perfume” within India that will eventually challenge the region of Grasse in France as the global perfume marketplace.
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The key objective of the chapter is to show that in the developing market of India there is a product type: “perfume” that contributes in numerous ways to the economy of the country and the market is driven by various consumer behaviors and demands from differing consumer segments. The Indian market is complex and has developed over millennia. It must not be assumed that just because the market is still developing that the consumers’ behaviors there are simple, the behaviors are indeed complex and manifold. The consumers of perfumes in India are presented with a vast array of perfume offerings from multinationals, from prestigious brands to fragrances offered by independent manufacturers, with some perfumes produced according to traditional formulae laid out in the ancient Hindu Ayurvedic texts. However, a broad range of consumer behavior literature concerning health issues, halal branding, packaging, gift giving, glocalisation, word-of-mouth endorsements and eco-friendly attitudes, social entrepreneurship coupled with ethical consumption, pricing and celebrity endorsements, that have been well reported in the marketing literature, concern consumers’ behaviors in developing nations, like India. There are other product types that contribute directly and indirectly to the India economy, such as Indian cuisine, that was arguably further popularised in Europe by Madhur Jaffrey (1992). Other developing nations have important product types; such as China with silk (Silk Road, 2015), that have been and continue to be important to their economies. Due to the historic abundance of natural aromatic resources in the Indian geographic region, there is a plethora of natural raw materials from which India extracts perfumes and scents. Furthermore, that “natural” industry is augmented by the synthetic fragrance industry. All those products are exported from India to the international perfume houses of the world, as well as being used by a broad segment of local manufacturers. The world leading perfume houses of France are considered and their business and marketing practices are presented as basis from which Indian perfumeries may develop their own world leading positions. The region of Grasse is France is the heart-place of perfume and we propose the India will need to identify and develop its own world leading “Place of Perfume” in order that India’s perfumery house may begin to challenge on the global perfume stage.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Perfume (Latin: Perfumare “to Smoke Through”): Perfumes were used by the Indus civilization (3300 BC – 1300 BC) and one of the earliest “Ittar” perfume preparations was mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts.

Practical Value: The usefulness of the perfume as perceived by the consumer. One of the STEPPS.

Emotions: One of the STEPPS. Emotions are the states of feelings that result in physical and psychological changes that influence consumers’ behaviors and the tendencies for consumers to operate those behaviors. Emotions drive positive and negative motivations.

Grasse: France is widely considered to be the romantic and economic heart of the global perfumery industry but within France the region of Grasse is considered to be the “World’s Perfume Capital.” Many of the great perfume houses that flourish in France today were born and continue to trade in Grasse.

Experiential Perfume Marketing: The marketing of a perfume through experiences that connect, create, and maintain emotional attachment to the perfume. Interactive experiences reinforce the perfume offer so that the perfume remains part of the customer’s identity.

Stories: The perfume brand makes embedded promises to consumers through stories. The notable perfume brand aligns its own story with the stories embedded in the consumers’ cognitive schemas. Every communication should reinforce the perfume brand’s story. One of the STEPPS.

Social Currency: Sharable information that makes the perfume publicly good and worthy of consumers’ making remarks. One of the STEPPS.

Place Branding: The process of image communication to the target market so that the place can compete with other places for people, culture, heritage, economic resources, and business.

Iris League: (Rather than Ivy League ) A term applied here to the premier perfume schools of the world: “The Grasse Institute of Perfumery” and “The Givaudan Perfumery School.”

Ittar: Originates from the Persian word “Atr” (fragrance) and refers to alcohol-free perfumes that are used by many Muslim men and women.

India: The Republic of India is a developing nation in South Asia and is the most largest democracy in the world with over 1.27 billion people. India has a multi-faith market with six main religions. India’s sixteen thousand species of flowering plants account for six percent of the total plant species in the world.

Cognitive Schema: An active organization of stories, past reactions, and past experiences that operate to affect consumer responses and consumer behaviors.

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