BOLOGNA, Italy — This is the moment of truth for Italy and its beauty industry. Each is counting on a renewed Made in Italy campaign to ward off competition and restore vitality.“All companies in Italy must invest more in the development of exports,” said Fabio Rossello, president of Unipro, the Italian association of cosmetics companies. The troubles of the Italian economy run parallel to the challenges facing the Cosmoprof trade show, which has been losing cachet through the exodus of major international brands.The Cosmoprof fair and its Cosmopack sibling ran from March 7 to March 11 here. Rossello was responding to mixed figures that were unveiled by Unipro at Cosmoprof, on March 8. Domestic consumption of beauty products dropped 1.8 percent in 2012 for the first time in at least five years, while exports jumped 7 percent.This year promises to bring more of the same. Unipro forecasts there will be a further decline in domestic consumption and that the sector’s revenues will remain bolstered by business abroad. In an interview, Rossello asserted that the Italian cosmetics industry invests more in research and development than other industries (6 percent to 8 percent of sales, versus 4 percent for the Italian average). And he further declared that the country boasts a trade surplus of 1.24 billion euros, or $1.59 billion at current exchange.Currently, 31.6 percent of Italy’s beauty revenues — 2.86 billion euros, or $3.66 billion — come from abroad. Domestic consumption last year was 9.6 billion euros, or $12.67 billion at average exchange for the period.
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