PARIS — French cosmetics exports grew 4 percent in 2014, making them the fastest-growing of France’s top-three commodities sold abroad, according to the country’s Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté.
French cosmetics generated a trade surplus of 8.9 billion euros, or $11.8 billion at average exchange for the year, ranking second after aeronautics and leading the food-processing industry, which rose 2.5 percent and declined 8 percent, respectively.
FEBEA said that for numerous years France has been the world’s number-one cosmetics seller abroad. In 2013, it boasted 15.9 percent of the export market, eclipsing the U.S. with 10.8 percent and Germany with 10.7 percent.
French products represent about one-third of Europe’s cosmetics sold outside of the continent “far in front of Germany,” according to the Federation. French cosmetics exports retailed beyond the European Union made up 51.8 percent of the international business.
“In 2014, French cosmetics exports progressed in almost all of the regions of the world,” stated FEBEA.
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The exports rising the most, by 11.7 percent, were to Asia, which was French cosmetics’ second-largest market after Europe with 16.9 percent of the business.
“France remains the first exporting country of cosmetics products to this zone, although the competition there is intense with major operators originating from the area, notably from Japan and Korea or the U.S.,” continued the Federation.
Sales to China grew 16.5 percent, while those to the U.S. gained 7.6 percent; to the Near and Middle East, 7.1 percent, and to Africa, 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, trade was down with Russia, Turkey and Latin America due to economic, political and reglementary issues.
By product category, the French exports were comprised 42.3 percent of skin care, 33.8 percent of fragrance, 6.6 percent of hair care and 6.5 percent of eye- and lip-color cosmetics products combined.