China’s air care market is moving beyond the basics to more advanced formats and features. Mintel forecasts China’s air fresheners market to grow in value between 2017 to 2021 as a result of an increased demand for home fragrance and products that enhance living ambience, driven by a rise in disposable income.

The scented candles and burners sub-category is the fastest growing air care segment by retail value in China. Currently, odour neutralising is by far the most important claim, followed by botanical/herbal origin.

In China, most of the air care products sold aren’t as updated when it comes to adjustable scent release, and Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) does not have any record of new launches that provide multisensory experiences. Meanwhile, only a handful of air care launches offer aromatherapy.

The air care market is now ready to transition from its focus on odour elimination to offering products that help to enhance the home environment.

Using air care for different reasons

According to Mintel research, the majority of urban Chinese consumers have used air fresheners in the past year, with as many as three in five air care consumers using two to four different types of air care products, and over one in four using five or more – suggesting that consumers tend to look for different benefits.

Close to nine in 10 Chinese adults use continuous air care products including potpourri, reed diffusers, scented oils, and fragrance sachets; these products are more suited to create ambience in the home rather than neutralise odours.

Among the 41% of respondents who use ambience-enhancing air care, reed diffusers and scented oils are the most popular, followed by potpourri and finally, scented candles.

Interest in features and innovation

The high level of odour-neutralising air care launches comes down to demand among Chinese consumers as a significant number of them look for products that eliminate odours and indoor pollution. The opportunity for more ambience-enhancing innovation is underlined by a similar demand for air care that adds an element of joyfulness.

There is opportunity for premiumisation to take place as well. Indeed, high income air care users are likely to buy seasonal variants, products that offer adjustable scent strength or multi-sensorial experiences (colour or fragrance changing for example), or air care launches with scents that relieve fatigue, or help to refresh or regain focus. Additionally, slightly more Chinese females than males are interested in stress- or fatigue-relieving air care.

Henrik Møller Jørgensen is Global Household Analyst at Mintel and was formerly R&D and Laboratory Manager at Danlind, one of the largest manufacturers for the household industry in Northern Europe. Previously, Henrik worked for Teknos Group, one of the largest producers of paint and coatings in Northern Europe, and Novadan, one of the major suppliers of cleaning and hygiene solutions in Denmark.

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