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Italian Beauty Business Consolidates Its Positive Trend

Cosmetica Italia’s preliminary data shows national cosmetic industry’s sales reaching 11.2 billion euros in 2018, forecasting a further 2.6 percent growth for this year.

MILAN — The global turnover of the Italian cosmetic industry continues to grow, registering sales of 11.2 billion euros last year, up 2 percent compared with 2017, according to data released Thursday by Cosmetica Italia.

The national association of cosmetic companies forecast a further 2.6 percent growth for this year.

“The end of 2018 marks the beginning of a phase of stability for our companies, during which the know-how acquired in the post-crisis years is metabolized,” said Cosmetica Italia’s president Renato Ancorotti.

The executive praised Italian entrepreneurs’ resilience facing political and economic uncertainty, which might affect the companies’ performance in the future along with the increasing costs of raw materials and distribution, and urged the need to work with institutions to “recognize the cosmetic industry’s dignity.”

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“We are a silent excellence and our goal today is to work on our reputation. We’re making efforts with stakeholders and politicians, as the beauty industry is often considered futile and frivolous, which is something we don’t understand also in light of our numbers. We are an essential part of Made in Italy and of the Italian style and we deserve more consideration from institutions,” Ancorotti said.

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Confirming the appeal and competitiveness of the Italian offer, last year the industry’s key driver was exports, which increased 3.5 percent to 4.8 billion euros. As a result, the trade balance surpassed the record amount of 2.7 billion euros in 2019.

France, Germany and the U.S. were the top three export destinations of Italian beauty goods, accounting for 12.9 percent, 11.8 percent and 10.3 percent of total exports, respectively. In particular, exports toward the U.S. increased 20.2 percent for a value of 407 million euros last year.

In Italy, sales of beauty products were up 0.5 percent to 10.1 billion euros due to the consolidation of some distribution channels.

The prime ones were mass distribution — which still represents 40 percent of cosmetic distribution in Italy — and perfumeries, where sales increased 0.5 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively. Professional hair and beauty salons and herbalist shops also consolidated their performances — reporting a 0.5 percent and 0.2 percent growth in sales, respectively — while sales in pharmacies reported a 1 percent drop.

The most dynamic medium was the e-commerce channel, which climbed 10 percent in 2018. Nevertheless, such growth still represented only a marginal value of 350 million euros last year.