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Italian Beauty Industry Stabilizes

The value of cosmetics products purchased in Italy in 2015 exceeds 9.4 billion euros, or about $10.3 billion.

MILAN — The Italian beauty industry is closing the current year with a positive upswing in exports and a slight increase in the domestic market, a trend that will continue in 2016, according to Cosmetica Italia, the national association of cosmetics companies.

By the end of 2015, the value of cosmetics products purchased in Italy exceeded 9.4 billion euros, or about $10.3 billion at current exchange rate, a slight increase of 0.8 percent compared to the previous year. The value of exports rose 10.5 percent to 3.7 billion euros, or about $4 billion. 61 percent of Italy’s exports are sold to non-European countries, with emerging markets including the Middle East and South America.

“The constant development of cosmetic exports enriches evidently the trade balance that exceeds 1.9 billion euros (or about $20.8 billion), an absolute record for the sector,” said Cosmetica Italia president Fabio Rossello, speaking at a conference here. “Given the reactivity shown by the companies, we hope for an equal dynamism on the part of political institutions to support the recovery,” he added.

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Professional hair and beauty salons continued to lose, with a drop of 2.3 percent and 3.3 percent respectively, compared to the previous year, a negative trend Cosmetica Italia expects to continue in the first semester of 2016 with a decline of 2 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. The mass market registered a slight increase of 0.7 percent, closing the year at a value of 3.8 billion euros, or about $4.1 billion, whereas the direct channel is closing at 550 million euros, or about $603 million (up 2.5 percent).

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Pharmacies were up by 1.5 percent with a value of 1.8 billion euros, or about $1.9 billion, whereas the herbal channel is closing the year at 430 million euros, or about $472 million (up 2.9 percent). Traditional perfumeries registered signs of recovery in the second semester of 2015 (up 1 percent) after several disappointing semesters and will close the year at a value of 2.1 billion euros, or about $2.3 billion.

According to Cosmetica Italia’s survey of cosmetics companies, problems included late payments from clients, competition without respect for rules, bureaucracy, fiscal pressure and the bank system. Multichannel strategies, attention to brand identity and politic strategies for internationalization were among the positive aspects.

Gian Andrea Positano, head of Cosmetica Italia’s research center, also spoke at the conference, noting that trend cosmetics in Italy for 2015-2017 are comprised of multifunctional hair, body and face products, whereas in the perfumery and hair care channel, storytelling fragrances and all-in one-products are on the rise.