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It’s Back to Basics at German Pharmacies

“People just want to get their business done, rather than being in the mood for cosmetic self-care,” a pharmacy employee said.

FRANKFURT — Cosmetic skin-care sales will likely rebound after the lockdown in Germany begins to ease on Monday, but in the four weeks since it began there, consumers have had different products in mind in pharmacies.

People have other priorities at the moment,” said an employee of Medios Apotheken, a group of four Berlin-based pharmacies. “We are working to capacity as consumers are in search for medications that ease potential COVID-19 symptoms and hygiene products like masks and sanitizers. It seems like people just want to get their business done, rather than being in the mood for cosmetic self care.”

“We usually sell skin care, but right now our consumers seem to have other things on their minds,” echoed an employee at Sanimedios Apotheke, another pharmacy group. “If anything at all, the demand for high-quality cosmetics seems to decline rather than increase these days.”

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During the first 13 weeks of 2020, sales of hand moisturizers and sunscreens at officinal pharmacies, which stock pharmaceuticals and beauty products, dipped 0.7 percent, while online sales for such items increased 2.7 percent, according to data science company IQvia.

A spokeswoman at cosmetics brand Dr. Hauschka, which is also certified as pharmaceutical manufacturer in Germany, noted stable demand of its products and a shift in consumer habits.

“We can see clearly that people are paying more attention to their health, and physical and mental care,” she said. “The pharmacies are more frequented, and we noticed an increased demand for our medical care line, especially products like the medical hand cream and the Moor Lavender Calming Body Oil.”

Eighty percent of retailers selling Dr. Hauschka online or off-line in Germany have remained open during the health crisis.

“Despite the lockdown, premium and high-end beauty and skin care retain a wide network of point-of-sales, as drugstores, traditional health-food stores and organic-food stores, many operating in national chains, remain open,” the spokeswoman continued.

Drugstores in Germany offer non-pharmaceutical products.

Last year, cosmetics and skin care generated sales of 1.5 billion euros, 9 percent of officinal pharmacies’ business.