The group experienced significant rise in footfalls across its more than 120 outlets in Middle East and North Africa.
Swiss Arabian Perfumes Group, or SAPG, has evolved an aggressive expansion plan to expand its presence in regional and international markets to sustain growth in the perfume business for years ahead, its top official says.
The UAE’s pioneer group in the perfume industry, which established base in Dubai about 40 years back, sees bright business prospects in the coming years and plans to boost its marketing spend to face off growing competition in the industry.
“We continue to seek new opportunities as they arise. The UAE market is a relatively mature market for us, but we are looking to grow the number of showrooms we have by about 50 per cent,” Hussein Adam Ali, chairman of Swiss Arabian Perfumes Group, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an event recently.
Adam Ali, who established the UAE’s first perfume manufacturing company — SAPG — in collaboration with Swiss perfumery giant Givaudan Roure, shared his success story and said the group has established a strong base to introduce the “Made in the UAE” brand in more than 60 countries across the world.
“We are a diversified and vertically-integrated perfume manufacturing house. We are actually the first company to set up a manufacturing facility here in the UAE, way back in 1974. We’ll be celebrating our 40th year in business this year,” he said.
Today, he said SAPG is a well-known perfume brand in international markets. The group experienced significant rise in footfalls across its more than 120 outlets in Middle East and North Africa.
“We have 70 outlets, 26 showrooms and 44 kiosks in the UAE. The group has over 1,000 employees, five facilities in the UAE and it produces more than 35 million units of perfumery products annually,” the SAPG chairman said.
He said SAPG is the first perfume company to achieve ISO:9001 quality management certification and be awarded the Environmental Performance certificate from the Ministry of Environment and Water.
Swiss Arabian Perfumes offers a comprehensive range of premium fragrances for traditional and contemporary sensibilities. Its authentic Ood, Dehn el Ood, Arabic and a tastefully-selected range of French perfumes are designed to address a broad spectrum of moods and personalities.
Int’l, regional expansion
Adam Ali is upbeat about the outlook for the UAE’s perfume industry and said his group will go all-out to cash in on the rising demand in the market by expanding its presence and product portfolio in days to come.
“As we have established strong base in the UAE and Mena region, we have chalked out a plan to increase SAPG presence in international markets by opening more showrooms.”
“We are also dramatically improving our product offering to include more premium items. This push into premium is part of our long-term strategy to expand into more showrooms.”
“Also, as a result of the large number of new players that have entered this market in the last five years, we are definitely looking to increase our marketing spends in a major way to drive our target customers to our locations, rather than just rely on existing footfall in malls,” the chairman elaborated.
About the expansion in other Gulf and Middle East countries, he said that SAPG is proud to be a major exporter of “Made in the UAE” perfumes.
“We are already present in other GCC countries in terms of retail outlets, and we also export our distribution brands to more than 60 to 80 countries worldwide. This remains, the major area for growth going forward.”
“It is, however, sometimes frustrating that our brands get far more support in foreign countries as a “Made in the UAE” product then right here in our backyard. We would love to showcase that the UAE perfume industry has reached world-class standards, and deserves equal opportunities when compared to international brands.”
Growth to continue
About the group’s performance in the first half of 2014 and recent years, he said: “We had solid double-digit growth in 2013, and so far that trend is continuing for 2014 Al Hamdullilah. We are optimistic that the growth will accelerate in the second half and continue into 2015.”
About the total worth of the perfume industry in the UAE and challenges ahead, he said it is difficult to calculate the worth of the perfume industry is in the UAE, but “our belief is that it is certainly in the billions of dirhams”.
To a question regarding competition in the market, he said global brands do not present a great challenge, provided there is a level playing field, and local players are given equal opportunities to compete.
“Speaking for ourselves, we are able to favourably compete with global brands, both in terms of product offering, quality and price. The large acceptance from the end customer, both locally here in the UAE, and abroad validates this,” he said.
“Competition has become fierce, with many more local players entering the fray, along with an increased presence of international players. The important thing is that mall owners and the government should be encouraged to support the local industry,” he added.
About the target customers for the group, he said: “I always tell my sales team, every customer is important; we love them all equally. But in all seriousness, it’s hard to pinpoint a specific community that we target, just because of the amazing diversity of the UAE population and tourist base it enjoys, but obvious front-runners are the biggest communities, i.e the GCC nationals, Asians and then the Arab expats. And amazingly, we do very well with Europeans.”
“With regards to new perfumes, I have mentioned earlier, the push into premium, and recently we launched our Attar Sheila and Attar Ghutra Eau de Parfum. The latter is the recipient of the Fifi 2013 award — the Oscars of the Perfumery World — for most popular appeal Arabian fragrance in the Male category,” the chairman concluded.