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Dufry Opts for Haute Parfumerie Concept at Five Airports with Some Scents at $800

Published June 11, 2023
Published June 11, 2023

Global travel retailer Dufry has launched the first of five haute parfumerie stores, kicking off at Zurich Airport at the end of May, as part of a strategic move to cover off the high-end beauty segment, which is doing particularly well post-pandemic and set for stellar growth, according to McKinsey.

Romina Gabarró, Dufry’s Head of Beauty for EMEA, said: “We are seeing continued and significant customer interest in premium, rare, and exclusive fragrances and the creation of this Haute Parfumerie concept is our response. It really takes the fragrance discovery experience to another level.”

Confident of success, Dufry has already earmarked other worldwide airport locations for the concept including London Heathrow T3, Vancouver International, and Turkey’s Antalya T1 and Istanbul.

The luxurious 80-square-meter stand-alone space at Switzerland’s busiest airport—and hub for the Lufthansa-owned airline Swiss—showcases some highly sought-after fragrances. They include Tiziana Terenzi’s Tyl (Swiss francs 729 for 100ml); Acqua di Parma’s Note Di Colonia Iv (Swiss francs 373 for 150ml); and Viking from Creed (Swiss francs 290 for 100ml).

Other brands in the store include Amouage, Diptyque, Ella K, Initio, La Perla, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Parfums de Marly, Montale, Off White, Penhaligon’s, Parfums Privés, Serge Lutens, Thameen, and Vilhelm Parfumeries. In US dollars, the full price range goes from about $800 down to $34 for a Penhaligon's fragrance library set (5x2ml).

The Bell Jar Look

The exterior store design is ultra-modern, with a wood and gray fascia in line with the airport’s terminal styling. However, inside the inspiration is softer, coming from the curves of the bell jar that is synonymous with the fragrance world as an apparatus placed over a scented object to capture the odor compounds in the surrounding air.

Arched wall bays present individual fragrance houses, framed in gold against beige walls and creating an overall impression that is slower and less frenetic than the main duty-free store where the vast majority of beauty is sold.

A multisensory phygital Fragrance PlayTable, based on the seven scent families, is located at the heart of the store. Developed jointly with fashion-to-beauty group Puig (the owner of Penhaligon’s), customers can browse by brand names they are familiar with and receive on-screen suggestions of fragrances they might also like.

They can also be guided by selecting their preferred aromas within the seven fragrance families—woody, floral, oriental, aromatic, leather, citrus, and chypre. The technology integrated into the PlayTable enables customers to accurately identify their olfactory profile, claims Dufry, and provide relevant fragrance options for them to try.

Heidi Köpple, Commercial Director for Zurich Airport, said that the new retail concept “takes the whole experience of discovering and purchasing fragrance to a totally different level.”

Traffic Almost Back to 2019

The store is located in Zurich Airport’s busy departures lounge where April passenger traffic hit 2.45 million, up 34% on April 2022, and is now at almost 90% of 2019 levels. Airside commercial revenue didn’t jump as fast at 23%, with turnover at $56.2 million during the month.

Antonin Carreau, Global Director for Beauty at Dufry, and a former Coty and Unilever senior executive, commented: “We see a strong level of interest in luxury and more niche fragrances. With the development of this concept, our aim is to deliver an immersive, memorable, and unique fragrance experience.”

A new report on beauty from McKinsey and The Business of Fashion says that mass and masstige fragrances “will likely wane as consumers upgrade to higher-end segments, particularly niche fragrance brands.” With an increasing tendency to premiumization, the report expects prestige fragrance (defined as $100-$250) to achieve an expected CAGR of 8%.

Meanwhile, luxury fragrances ($250-$5,000) will surge at 13% over a five-year period to 2027. The luxury segment will easily outperform fragrances as a whole. This beauty sector had global sales of around $70 billion in 2022 and is expected to see a CAGR of 7%, reaching close to $100 billion by 2027, according to McKinsey.

For reference, in 2014 Nuance—a travel retailer that was bought by Dufry in the same year—also developed a Haute Parfumerie concept, initially at Antalya Airport and then refined at St Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport. In both cases the aim was to seize on the Russian appetite for high-end perfumes when Russian consumers traveled. Among the brands present then were Xerjoff, Join The Club, Penhaligon’s, and Sospiro.


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