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Unipro Issues Beauty Report Card for Italy

The Italian association of cosmetics companies released its 2013 beauty report Tuesday.

MILAN — Unipro, the Italian association of cosmetics companies, released its 2013 beauty report Tuesday. The findings, assembled with Rome’s Ermeneia research center, did not substantially differ from those presented at Cosmoprof in March, when Unipro indicated that Italian beauty companies were doing better internationally than at home: domestic consumption of cosmetics dropped 1.8 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to the report.

In a phone interview, Unipro president Fabio Rossello said that the volume of cosmetics sold in Italy had not really changed, but that many companies were responding to consumers’ tighter purse strings by offering lower prices on key products. Cosmetics production in Italy was up 0.9 percent, compared with the 3.9 percent decrease in national production of non-durable goods, and exports of Italian cosmetics were up 7 percent on-year, compared with the 3.7 percent increase for all Italian exports.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Rossello, adding that while the year ahead would be “complex,” he believed exports of Italian cosmetics would continue to grow and the domestic market would likely be flat in the immediate future.

Italian cosmetics companies that participated in the survey indicated a difference in how firms were faring, with 77.8 percent agreeing that: “The crisis does not have the same impact on all companies, since some had very good results at the end of 2012 and others had very bad results,” and 82.2 percent agreeing that “successful companies are those that figured out how to rethink their business models.”

Many companies expressed interest in developing e-commerce, which Rossello noted was gaining traction in Italy.

A section of the study examining the perfumery sector noted that competition from other retail channels and the general decrease in consumption seen across Italy were factors in the 4 percent decrease in perfumery sales from 2011 to 2012.

Unipro’s report also highlighted the unwillingness of consumers with limited disposable incomes to give up on cosmetics purchases. Rossello noted that beauty products have become “essential consumer goods — the same way people buy food, they buy cosmetics.” Face washes, shampoos, soaps and even nail polishes help people feel better, he said, adding: “Cosmetics is not just about the luxury cream that costs hundreds of euros.”