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French Beauty Exports Grow 9% in 2019

The sector’s sales to China rose 48 percent on-year.

PARIS — France’s beauty export sales rose 9 percent to 15.7 billion euros in 2019 versus 2018, according to the country’s Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté, or FEBEA, which cited numbers from the French customs office.

That growth allowed the country to boast 23 percent market share worldwide last year.

Beauty sales abroad, which have advanced 10 percent on average annually since 2013, now comprise France’s second-largest export in volume and value, and rank after the aeronautic industry. (Export sales of French cosmetics and fragrance are equal to that of more than 150 Airbus aircrafts.)

Geographic zone-wise, Europe then the U.S. and Asia were France’s largest export markets for beauty, and country-wise it was Germany, the U.S. and Singapore. Sales to China were up 48 percent on-year, making it the fourth-largest beauty export country for France, whereas in 2018, it ranked seventh.

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Beauty exports gained 26 percent to South Korea and 16 percent to Singapore. Today, one French cosmetics product out of five is sold in Asia.

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Overall, France’s largest export beauty product category was skin care, which generated more than 7.3 billion euros, up 46 percent over the past five years. Sales of perfumes and eaux de toilette equaled 4.8 billion euros, a 23 percent increase in the five years, while lipstick sales, reaching more than 730 million euros, advanced almost 80 percent in the period.

France’s cosmetics market, which sells abroad more than half of what it manufactures, is the only export activity in France that counts 130,000 employees.

Out of every five French cosmetics products sold domestically, a foreign tourist purchases one.

Beauty’s research and development is the best performing in France, with 3.6 patents filed per million euros spent. Yearly, almost one-third of all cosmetics products are renewed in the country.

Patrick O’Quin, president of FEBEA, highlighted France’s cosmetics sector’s entrepreneurial dynamism. “Every year, 170 new cosmetics companies are created in the industry, fueled by the sector’s abundant innovation,” he said in a statement.

Beside multinationals, almost 85 percent of the industry is made up of small and midsized companies, which are scattered around the country.

FEBEA is a professional union of beauty and well-being companies, including perfumeries and makers of skin-care, hygiene, toiletries and hair-care products. It culls more than 350 companies, of which 82 percent are small or midsized.