MILAN — Cosmetica Italia, the Italian association of cosmetics companies, is forecasting a positive scenario for the industry this year.

According to figures and projections released on Thursday by the association’s newly elected president Renato Ancorotti, the Italian cosmetics industry is expected to see revenues increase 4.5 percent to 11.5 billion euros in 2018 compared to the previous year.

Projections also see exports climbing 8 percent to reach 5 billion euros, while the trade balance will reach the record amount of 2.7 billion euros, even with imports increasing 1.9 percent in 2018.

Ancorotti underscored the industry’s performance will be boosted by new distribution channels, which are shifting and impacting the sales of cosmetic goods on a national scale, and the performance of Italian supply companies, whose revenues totaled 1.5 billion euros last year and will further increase by 10 percent in 2018. Exports remain a major force for said companies, as Italian suppliers produce 67 percent of the total makeup distributed across Europe.

Regarding the distribution, the mass market covers 41 percent of the national cosmetic market and its sales are expected to further grow by 1 percent to 4.2 billion euros this year.

Sales in professional hair and beauty saloons will continue to increase 1.8 and 2.5 percent, respectively, while herbalist and perfumery channels are expected to deliver a 0.5 percent gain each.

Although they don’t move the needle in terms of value yet, direct sales will be the ones rising the most in 2018, increasing 12 percent. These include e-commerce channels, whose sales will accelerate and grow 25 percent to 330 million euros this year.

According to Cosmetica Italia study center’s supervisor Gian Andrea Positano, Italian beauty companies are starting to realize the importance of digitalization and aim to implement practical strategies to engage clients mainly investing in the management of social media platforms and in establishing offices developing digital assets.

Although launching their own e-commerce is still at the bottom of the priority list of beauty companies in Italy, projections are that this channel will become more relevant for local consumers in the future, as it guarantees an easy, time-saving shopping experience and often offers more competitive prices.

The diffusion of online stores will not only affect sales, but the development of future products, as well, as innovations in formulations and packaging will be likely implemented to adjust the goods to this distributive channel. New packages will be conceived to prevent powders from breaking during shipments. In addition, tech devices and apps mimicking the effect of a makeup item on users will be integrated to enhance the digital shopping experience.

Simultaneously to the expansion of online stores, the future will see a rationalization of brick-and-mortar units to favor the ones pushing the shopping experience a step further through professional services, customization and a tech-oriented environment, as the omnichannel approach will be key.

Productwise, Cosmetica Italia also tracked the growing cosmetic trends in Italy, which involve green, environmentally and socially sustainable offerings; innovative, antiage and time-defying formulations and single-dose packaging solutions.

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