Henrik Møller Jørgensen
Henrik is a Global Analyst for Household Products; conducting research, leveraging his extensive knowledge and creating reports and customised client serveys for Mintel.

Fragrance is taken seriously in Arabic countries. The distinctive element of Middle Eastern perfumery is oud, or agarwood, a precious resin with an opulent aroma of tobacco, leather and honey. In the form of Bakhoor, which is scented wood chips soaked in fragrance oils, it burns in public places and private homes throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Families make their own Bakhoor by mixing amber, musk, sugar and essential oils, creating a signature aroma that perfumes not just their home, but also their clothing and body. Indeed, perfume is seen as a powerful statement about individuality and is believed to attract the attention of benevolent spirits and repel evil ones.

The process of layering scents

Local perfume traditions have evolved because of many Arab regions’ hot, sweaty desert climates, and are focused on creating strong, long-lasting scents. As is the case when making beauty product selections, Arabs choose fragrances based on their individual preferences, customising and layering scents as they please.

The traditional Arab approach to fragrances is ritualistic, layering multiple complementary scents. Blending opposing scents like floral and woody or spiced and sweet is a complex science; while some scents don’t mix well when bottled, they do smell wonderful when layered on top of each other.

Examples of complementary layering of scents that have already appeared in the household cleaner sector are dual-scent combinations. These have been launched by larger market players, as well as smaller brands, and seize opportunities in key Arabic markets such as Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Scent combinations in Arabic countries

Casino Lemon & Grapefruit Multi Surface Cleaner (Morocco)
Gento Lemon & Mint Disinfectant & Cleaner (Saudi Arabia)
Grand Jury Orchid & Papaya Scented Multi-Surface Cleaner (Morocco)

Customisable, multi-dimensional scent experiences

Micro-encapsulated fragrance technology specifically designed for hard surface cleaners has huge unmet market potential in the Middle East and North Africa. Arab countries are marked by their huge, growing middle classes who aspire to own luxury products, while maintaining a strong connection to tradition and heritage.

Micro-capsules that release a burst of multi-dimensional fragrance while walking on floors, touching surfaces or while drying, can help this growing consumer group turn moments of everyday life into intense scent experiences.

Offering different scent combinations and encouraging consumers to mix these to create their own signature scents for their home would have great appeal, especially to younger consumers who have started to abandon traditional ways of scenting their homes, or who use scent just when hosting elderly relatives.