Per capita consumption of perfumes in the Middle East, estimated at $380 annually, is among the highest in the world, according to a report by the Fragrance Foundation Arabia (FFA).
Industry experts also estimate that over the next five years the Middle East fragrance market, which is currently valued at $3.5 billion, will jump to $10 billion by 2015 as major importers and producers are expanding their sales and distribution networks, backed by a young and largely fashion-conscious population with a growing trend towards consumer urbanisation and higher spending.
The global market for fragrances is set to almost double from $17 billion in 2010 to touch $33.5 billion by 2015.
"Despite the recession, the market for perfumes in the Middle East was not impacted adversely," said Shahzad Haider, Chairman, FFA.
The FFA, the Middle East wing of The Frag-rance Foundation, the international industry body, yesterday launched the first ever Middle East Fragrance Summit (MEFS), to be held in Dubai on September 26 and 27 at The Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai.
In the Gulf, the fragrance industry has a strong representation of the oriental perfumes that are developed from Agarwood and oil that compliment the western perfumes that are produced from flowers.
"While fragrances have always been an integral part of life in the Arab World, there has never been such a depth of awareness about their importance in personal care programmes, as is seen today.
"We believe it is important to leverage this awareness to grow the market further in a streamlined manner and the MEFS is our first step in this direction," said Abdullah Ajmal, Deputy General Manager of Ajmal Perfumes.
Their perfumes are particularly appealing to the large Muslim population, who use a lot of oil-based perfumes that are used during religious occasions, events and festivals such as Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha.
"The fragrance industry is one of the largest in the UAE, and a prime driver of the country's retail sector. It is only fitting that the first ever Middle East Fragrance Summit is being held in the UAE, which is the highest consuming market for fragrances and perfumes," said Laila Suhail, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE).
"DEPE, as one of the agencies of the Department of Economic Development, is pleased to support the FFA's initiative in hosting this summit."