As the creators of perfume artworks, or niche perfumes as they are also known, we are experiencing an onslaught of grey market products. This has come about through:
– waves of cheap re-imports brought in by distributors from other sales regions (these re-imports are originals that have passed their sell-by date, which explains their low price)
– increasing amounts of stolen goods
– counterfeit products from the Middle East and Asia
– products that have been smuggled into our sales markets by unauthorised distributors and then dumped here.
We from will be a brand want to combat these developments, and have joined forces with perfume artists and the retail trade to do so.
How can these developments be explained?
Escentric Molecules has been particularly affected by these developments and therefore exemplifies the problems that they entail. The company’s meteoric rise within the world of perfumery was assisted by will be a brand, whose brand-building efforts placed a strong emphasis on exclusivity and select sales channels. It was important that Escentric Molecules fragrances not be perceived as mass-market products. However, things that are scarce are often highly coveted, and coveted products whip up the grey market.
“All stakeholders are responsible for ensuring that our niche product does not become a mass-market product. The perfume sector, too, has a duty to act, and should strive to treat its brands with care instead of burning them out.”
What are the consequences?
– The grey market jeopardises legitimate sales and retail trade.
– It threatens the reputation of excellent, highly creative brands like Escentric Molecules.
– The grey market deceives consumers: Perfumes that have passed their sell-by dates need to be re-applied more often. They therefore get used up more quickly and can end up being more expensive than the original.
– The grey market endangers consumers: Purchasing stolen goods is illegal, as is, under certain circumstances, the purchase of counterfeit goods. Moreover, counterfeit products have not undergone laboratory testing, and as such put consumers’ health at risk (allergies, rashes, etc.).
“What makes this situation so disheartening for us as brand builders, is the realisation that no one seems particularly interested in cultivating brand value; most are solely focused on generating profit.”
How can you recognise grey market products?
Grey market products are cheap. They are sold at prices of up to 65% below the recommended retail price.
Experts can only tell a grey market product by checking the batch number. This enables them to ascertain the product’s age.
One way of making things more difficult for the grey market would be to code products consistently. However, grey market importers are already removing these codes in order to impede product traceability, supposedly as a means of protecting their ‘suppliers’.
What can I do?
Fragrances where retailers and consumers can be sure of authenticity, quality and product safety always come from an authorised distributor, like will be a brand and are generally sold at higher, recommended retail prices.
The grey market not only lacks any transparency, it is also highly professionally organised. This makes it very difficult to contain. The only people who can succeed in doing this in the long term are honest, authorised retailers – and consumers.