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Cosmetica Italia Releases 2014 Beauty Report

While the domestic market continues to frustrate many, expansion abroad still is a major boon to business.

MILAN — Cosmetica Italia, the Italian association of cosmetics companies, released its 2014 beauty report Tuesday, and while the domestic market continues to frustrate many, expansion abroad still is a major boon to business.

Assembled with Rome’s Ermeneia research center, the report showed a 2.6 percent year-on-year increase in Italy’s cosmetics production in 2013 — an encouraging result, considering the simultaneous 2.5 percent decrease in the country’s overall production of nondurable goods. Cosmetics exports also followed a positive trend, up 11 percent on-year in 2013 to 3.2 billion euros, or about $4.3 billion at current exchange, and the sector’s trade surplus shot up 24.5 percent during the same period.

Gian Andrea Positano, director of Cosmetica Italia’s research facility, emphasized that while domestic consumption of cosmetics was down 1.2 percent from 2012 to 2013, investments in foreign markets over the past year had paid off for many firms. In 2009, 25.3 percent of cosmetics manufactured in Italy were exported; in 2013, that figure hit 34.2 percent.

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“At one time, over 50 percent of our cosmetic exports were to other European countries, and now, over 50 percent are to countries outside the EU,” Positano added, citing the U.S., the Middle East and Hong Kong among key markets.

In a separate section, the report signaled a sharp rise in the number of Italian shoppers who made purchases across various distribution channels, instead of favoring one over others. Of those interviewed in 2014, 47.2 percent agreed that “the economic crisis pushed me to buy cosmetic products in a variety of channels, depending on the best price/quality relationship.” In 2013, only 30.5 percent of interviewees had agreed with the same statement.

While consumers also expressed an increased interest in e-commerce — in 2014, 29.7 percent said they bought cosmetics online, compared with 19.7 percent last year — Positano said most Italian beauty companies had not yet fully capitalized on this trend.

He also highlighted the growing success of monobrand beauty stores, such as Kiko: This year, 41.5 percent of Italian consumers said they had “bought products from ‘distributor brands,’ because they cost less and are good quality.”