A Snapshot Of The Fragrance Industry Of India

A snapshot of the Fragrance industry of India - IIMA


People have used perfume, oils and unguents (soothing ointment) on their bodies for thousands of years. The early Egyptians used perfumed balms as part of religious ceremonies and later as part of pre-love making preparations. Products that enhance the feel of skin and the smell of the body have been highly valued in every culture.

In the olden days, the perfume oil was extracted from flora such as rose, peppermint, bay leaf, eucalyptus, geranium, iris, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lilac, lily, magnolia, moss, orange, pine, raspberry, rose, sage, sandalwood, tuberose, vanilla, violet, etc. These extracts were steeped in oils until a perfumed unguent was formed. The unguent was then rubbed into the skin.

The late 19th century was the first real era of perfume. During this period, new scents were created because of advances in organic chemistry knowledge. Synthetic perfume products were used in place of certain hard to find or expensive ingredients.

France became a hub for flower and herb growing for the perfume industry. It was only in the 20th Century that scents and designer perfumes were really mass produced.

Today in the 21st Century, both men & women have fragrance wardrobes of at least five-six different perfumes, rather than a single signature perfume, keeping special perfumes for special occasions. In 2016, the global fragrance market is estimated to be worth about USD 40.1 billion.


India fragrance market has showcased a steady growth during the span of last five years (FY’2010-FY’2015). The expanding product lines due to significant technology advancements and growing importance towards personal grooming & appearance coupled with increasing consumer spending on beauty and wellness products has contributed to the growth of the market.

Out of all the fragrances, the floral fragrance is the most popular one due to its varied uses ranging from perfumes, colognes to home cleaning products. Hot and humid climate conditions and increasing population of working class has propelled the fragrance market in India. The fragrance market has significantly grown during the span of last five years FY’2010-FY’2015, at a CAGR of 10.0%.

A snapshot of the Fragrance industry of India - IIMA

The overall size of the perfume industry of India is currently estimated at Rs 2000 crores, which is projected to grow by 50% to Rs 3000 crores by next 5 years. The current online perfume market is at Rs 148 crores which is projected to grow by approximately 120% to Rs 345 crores. As Indian consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping, the online market share of the perfume category, which is currently 7% of the total perfume market, is set to increase to approximately by 11% by next 5 years. Gujarat contributes to approximately 6% of the total perfume market in India.


The current position of India in this trade is not at its potential. We need to look into the following aspects with all seriousness for proper development of the Indian essential oil, fragrance & flavor industry to happen.

• Make substantial investment in Research & Development activities in consultation with Indian industry.
• Create well-trained human resource at every level right from worker at laboratory, field, production, sales, and marketing.
• Promote and develop quality products with safety & efficacy.
• Tap on the non-utilized and underutilized natural resources by promoting farmers to cultivate aromatic crops with proper market interventions.
• Carry out the standardization of a number of synthetic & natural aroma products.
• Create a platform where farmer, producer, trader, user, exporter, R&D organization, educational organizations, & government can meet and share their views.
• Set-up of technology diffusion centers in different parts of the country according to area specific needs.
• Create a special task force to gather detailed information about Indian natural aromatic plants and take steps to use them for industry development.
• Set-up a specific university to train Indian students to create exotic fragrances and flavors for the industry, and establish a talent pool for the Indian and the global market.
• Make use of Bio and Information Technology.
• Harmonize Indian industry with global safety and regulatory norms.
• Harmonize all chemical classification and communication elements, including labels and safety data sheets, with global requirements to ensure information on physical hazards and toxicity from chemicals and to enhance protection of human health and that of the environment during handling, transport, and use at the national, regional, and global level.


Even today, some Indian companies extract essential oils in India, in an unorganized manner. This industry can grow only by following scientific means and methods of propagation and extraction. Systematic exploitation of aromatic plants by Indian Industry can bring a great economic advantage to our country as we bring more plants that are aromatic under use. Setting up of small-scale essential oil extraction and processing units can provide ample employment opportunities for the rural youths.

Once these units come into operation, local farmers can be motivated easily for large-scale cultivation of selected aromatic crops according to the prevalent agro-climatic conditions. During the initial stages, raw material requirement of these industries can be met either through collection from wild habitats or through intercropping cultivation in agricultural farms. Either way, it will provide employment to millions of youths from farming communities.

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