The inaugural five-day Parfam 2011 exhibition, which concluded at the Expo Centre Sharjah last week, surpassed all expectations, with a minimum of over 6,000 visitors attending the show.
The event which was opened by Ahmed Mohamed Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Expo Centre Sharjah, providing an opportunity for a broad range of exhibitors to showcase their fragrances, to members of the trade and the public respectively.
“Parfam 2011 welcomed 6,000 dedicated visitors as well as a huge cross-over from the 25,000 visitors at the Perfect Wedding show which ran concurrently. These two shows combined covered over 9,000 square feet,” said Saif Al Midfa, Director General, Expo Centre Sharjah.
“Given the culture of fragrances here in the Middle East, it was a natural ‘bolt-on’ event. Due to the overwhelming success of Parfam 2011, we fully expect it to grow significantly next year – 80% of exhibitors this year have already confirmed for 2012,” added Al Midfa.
Businesses from China, India and the UK exhibited at Parfam 2011, including some of the most recognisable brand names across the region from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, such as Ajmal, Rasasi, Al Waleed, Al Fayiz and Asghar Ali.
“Ajmal Perfumes was exhibiting at Parfam not only from the retail perspective but also to highlight Ajmal’s position as a leading company in the regional and international Fragrance industry. The event not only provided the high level of branding we required but also gave us networking opportunities to expand our business,” said Abdulla A. Ajmal, deputy general manager of Ajmal Perfumes.
The internationally-affiliated Fragrance Foundation Arabia (FFA), which is committed to growing the industry throughout the Middle East, is a leading supporter of the event. In addition to some of the region’s leading brands, the Middle East chapter of the FFA enjoys strong support from some of the world’s most recognisable brands including Christian Dior, PUIG ME, Coty ME, Diesel, Victor & Rolf, Stella Mc Cartney, YSL, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Lancôme.
“Parfam as a launch event has surpassed initial expectations as not only a retail event but also a great initiative for Middle Eastern fragrance industry. As Fragrance Foundation Arabia we anticipate Parfam to become a major fragrance industry event of the year across all sectors of industry,” commented Shahzad Haider, chairman of the Fragrance Foundation Arabia.
Sharjah was the logical choice of venue for this event, given the strong role luxury goods such as perfume play in the local and regional economy. The Middle East fragrance market is worth an estimated US$3.5 billion per annum, which amounts to about 20% of the US$17 billion global market. It also ranks the highest in the world for consumption of perfumes, with per capita average annual purchases of US$350 per person.
One influential visitor was Louis Lecoeur, general manager of Firmenich Dubai. With a head office in Geneva, Switzerland, the local company develops fragrances and flavours from its laboratory in DuBiotech.
"I found that the event was a great platform to see the major players of the Arabian fragrance industry. There was a nice retail atmosphere in which one felt comfortable to smell new products and exchange ideas on perfume trends while networking. I will definitely come back next year and encourage even more brands to participate in the 2012 edition," he said.
Perfumes also play an important cultural role in the lives of locals within the Middle East, particularly Oud, which was discovered in the region hundreds of years ago. The oil, which is highly prized both regionally and around the world, has been used for centuries in art, as a symbol of reverence and a token of beauty. A number of leading Middle Eastern Oud retailers displayed their unique, luxurious fragrances at Parfam 2011.