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Updated: Sep 12

Africans like to dress well and while the fashion industry is usually focusing on clothing and accessories, fragrances tend to have little air time. In fact, scent is one of the powerful of the five senses, triggering all kinds of emotions, including finding true love or reliving fond memories. The perfume and fragrance industry is worth over $45 billion globally. In Africa, research estimates that the beauty market is worth $4.5 billion in South Africa, followed by Nigeria and Kenya (~$500 million and $300 million respectively).

When it comes to seasonality, retailers usually make the bulk of the sales during the holiday season (November and January). As we are heading towards the Christmas season, retailers who look to capitalize on this critical period must understand the drivers of consumer brand choices and scent preferences.

Our 2017 fragrance and perfume survey of 2600 urban dwellers from 3 countries in Africa (Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya) reveals that 97 percent of the respondents in Nigeria wear perfume with 51 percent wearing perfume daily. As expected, fragrance are very popular among women, 7 out 10 women wear perfume at least daily (compared to 3 out of 10 men). Interestingly, the majority of respondents also re-apply the perfume daily with 85 percent of respondents re-applying between 1 and 2 times a day. A small but not negligible percentage re-applies perfume 3 times a day.

A good fragrance should have a certain personality that makes people identify the scent with the person wearing it. It is definitely the case in in Nigeria, where the majority of respondents doesn’t perceive perfume as odor inhibitor instead, wearing perfume projects a sense of style (for 43 percent of respondents) and personality (for 27 percent of the respondents). For a majority (36 percent) of men, wearing perfume reveals a personality while for a majority (50 percent) of women, wearing perfume reveals a sense of style.

Perfumes and fragrances are popular gift choices during the holiday season. As a result, retailers must understand what perfume direct buyer's preferences are but also the preferences of those who buy it as a gift. Our research found that making a perfume choice for oneself is not the same as making perfume decision for a loved one or a friend.

When it comes to perfume selection, Floral & Fruity comes on top with 37 percent of respondents saying they prefer Floral & Fruity perfume for themselves, closely followed by Fresh & Zesty (34 percent). The majority of men (38 percent) prefers Fresh & Zesty perfume while most women (43 percent) prefer Floral & Fruity. Among women, Woody & Musky perfumes are clearly unpopular, with only 7 percent looking to try them. Among men, Spicy & Oriental are the least popular perfume.

Interestingly, Floral & Fruity perfumes also came in first as gift choice with 33 percent of respondents selecting them. The majority of men (41 percent) prefers to offer Fresh & Zesty perfume while women seem to be open to offering more types of perfume as gifts, with Fresh & Zesty and Woody & Musky leading. People are more comfortable picking their own fragrance than selecting one for loved ones or friends.

Perfume and fragrance research is done online while the purchase happens in store. 42 percent of respondents in Nigeria say they search for perfume online and 39 percent of them rely on friend’s referrals. While this may be good news for online retailers, only 13 percent of respondents actually buy perfume and fragrance online. The majority of people surveyed buys perfumes and fragrances in a shopping mall (32 percent).

So what does this mean for marketers and beauty & cosmetic companies? While the holiday season is associated with shopping for kid gifts, food and beverages, retailers should also look to stock up on high margin body care and beauty products like perfumes and fragrances. Ultimately, choice selection and location will be key in closing the sales so having the right offer and sufficient stock on hand to service customers during these special occasions is critical to your holiday seasonal sales success.

Interested in learning more?

  • Discover insights from the study in Kenya and Cameroon

  • How can retailers leverage country specific findings?

  • Where are perfume-style the most and least popular?

  • What are some tips to cross-sell perfume?

  • What are some of the creative ideas retailers can come up with?

  • How do you convert online search to offline purchase?


  • KASI Insight two-week survey, Fragrances & perfumes, May 2016

  • KASI Insight two-week survey, Health and wellness, February 2017

  • KASI Insight two-week survey, Shopping Malls, October 2017

Contact our team today to explore how our consumer intelligence, brand intelligence and retail intelligence can empower your decision-making process. Win with confidence with Kasi insights

#marketresearch #africaconsumer #datacollection #esomar #wfa #online #perfume #fragrance #beauty

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