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

By the end of 2016, the Italian cosmetics industry is expected to see revenues increase 5 percent to 10.5 billion euros, or $11.6 billion, compared with 2015. Exports last year were a major force for the business, showing a 14.5 percent growth, for a value of 3.8 billion euros, or $4.2 billion. In 2016, the trend is expected to continue and even improve, with sales seen climbing 11.5 percent to more than 4.25 billion euros, or $4.7 billion.

Last year, France, Germany, the U.S., the U.K. and Spain were the biggest destinations for Italian cosmetics. In particular, exports to the U.S. marked a 31.2 percent increase over 2014, totaling 326 million euros, or $359 million.

“The ability of the Italian cosmetics industry to offer a combination of product quality, service, safety and innovation is what really distinguishes it,” Cosmetica Italia’s president Fabio Rossello said. He also noted how “the total U.S. domestic market saw only a very slight growth, with a significant increase in market shares for the Italian companies.”

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Alcohol-based perfume products represented nearly 27 percent of Italian exports to the U.S., with a value of more than 87 million euros, or $95.7 million. Equally successful were exports of hair products, worth 85 million euros, or $93.7 million (up 27.1 percent) and makeup products, which totaled more than 77 million euros, or $84.8 million (up 42.8 percent over 2014).

Cosmetica Italia also revealed positive signals for its domestic market, which is expected to register growth of 0.7 percent, with Italian products consumption reaching 9.9 billion euros, or $10.9 billion, by the end of this year. Professional hair will reverse the recent trend and register a 0.8 percent increase, for a value of about 560 million euros, or $617 million. Perfumes are expected to end the year on a high note, as well, with a 1 percent growth and a value that will be approximately 2 billion euros, or $2.2 billion. The herbalist and pharmacy channels are expected to deliver a 2.2 percent and 1.3 percent gain, respectively.

Direct sales, including e-commerce channels, are rising more than 7 percent, while mass distribution is seen dropping 0.8 percent. Beauty salons will keep showing a negative trend, with a 2.1 percent decrease in 2016.

Italy has confirmed its position as the fourth market in Europe, after Germany, the U.K. and France. The European cosmetics market is the biggest in the world, totaling more than 77.5 billion euros, or $85.2 billion.

The Italian beauty industry employs 35,000 people, 54 percent of whom are women. Local cosmetic companies invest about 7 percent of their turnover in research and development regarding innovation and technology fields, against a national average that stops at 3 percent. Almost 60 percent of the makeup distributed worldwide is produced in Italy, while the most active region in the country is Lombardy, with the highest concentration of beauty companies at more than 51 percent. Italian regions of Emilia Romagna, Veneto and Piedmont are next.

The upcoming beauty industry’s agenda includes Cosmoprof North America’s 14th edition, running from July 24 to 26 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The 257,333-square-foot area will welcome 1,148 exhibiting companies from 37 countries, an increase of 13 percent compared with last year.

After touching base in Hong Kong in November, the beauty fair format will be back in Italy to celebrate its 50th edition in Bologna, from March 16 to 20. For the occasion, Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna tapped photographer Oliviero Toscani to shoot its new ads. The images show close-ups of women of different ethnic groups, featuring colorful signs on lips, eyes and hair, with the goal to portray the internationality of beauty and of the fair. The ads will promote Cosmoprof’s appointments in 2017 on international media.