Testing fragrances for personal products in the Middle East

Author: Ivor Shalofsky

Abstract:

In the Middle East, consumer testing of fragrances for personal products poses all of the same methodological problems as in other parts of the world, plus some particular problems having to do with the place of perfume in Moslem culture. The Firmenich Company, as a supplier of fragrances, has attempted to come to terms with these difficulties by adapting its market research methods and at the same time adjusting to the social and cultural climate of the region. The approach is illustrated by a case study, covering a consumer product test of a range of fragrances for a brand of toilet soap, carried out in one of the Gulf countries (Kuwait). The research involved a sequential monadic testing methodology, using a "Round Robin" design, and was carried out as a central location test. Some comparisons are made with similar consumer research carried out in one of the countries of West Africa (Nigeria). The paper will seek to illustrate how it is possible, in this product category, to obtain robust and reliable results from a central location test, providing that careful attention is paid both to the adaptation of the basic testing method, and to the particular connotations of perfume in this part of the world.

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