The cosmetics sector heads towards pre-Covid values

On the occasion of Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, the Cosmetica Italia Statistics Dept. presents its latest findings on the sector’s performance, with a focus on preliminary figures for 2021 and an analysis of forecasts for 2022.

In 2021, the overall turnover of the Italian cosmetics sector exceeded 11.8 billion euros, an increase of 9.9% on 2020.

A sustained recovery was also seen in exports, which hit more than 4.8 billion euros (+13.8%). The impact of these figures on the trade balance was positive, with a return to pre-Covid levels and a value of 2,750 million euros.

Signs from the Italian market were also good, exceeding 10.6 billion euros, with an increase of 8.8% compared to 2020.

Specifically, a number of new purchasing and consumption habits appeared to have become established at the end of 2021. This is the case for e-commerce, for example, which continues its double-digit growth with an increase of 23.2%, topping 870 million euros.

Among the dynamics affecting channels is the return of perfume stores as the second biggest sales channel for cosmetics: after the decline recorded in 2020, the value of this channel climbed back up to nearly 1,880 million euros, an increase of 21.3%.

Mass market retail remained the first channel for cosmetics consumption in Italy (over 4,540 million euros, +2.7% compared to 2020), whereas pharmacies, which were one of the channels that enjoyed privileged access for essential goods during the pandemic, ranked third (nearly 1,870 million euros, +3.1% compared to 2020).

Professional channels, heavily hit by the periods of lockdown, experienced a positive revival: consumption through beauty salons increased by 25.2% in 2021 to a value of more than €210 million and hairdressing salons recorded a growth rate 21.3% and a market value of €550 million.

Sales through the herbalist shop channel showed a positive trend for 2021 compared to 2020, achieving a total value of slightly more than 375 million euros (+13.8%); direct sales, both on a door-to-door basis and via mail order, ended the year with more negative trends than other channels, mostly because demand shifted towards other far more innovative forms of distribution. The channel nevertheless grew by 2%, to a sales volume of nearly 340 million euros

The analysis of trends in consumption in the different product categories also indicates a widespread positive trend in 2021. Furthermore, the curve of the categories which had accelerated sharply during the pandemic – products for hygiene and hair care products, for example – is also returning to normal levels.

In terms of growth, the dynamics of women’s eau de toilettes and perfumes (+22.2%), eye shadows (+19.5%) and eye liners and pencils (+17%) are particularly notable.

 Products for face care represent a 17% share of the total cosmetic consumption of Italians with a value of 1.5 billion euros, and are confirmed as the main consumption category for 2021. This category is followed by products for body care (15.7%) with a value of more than 1.3 billion euros.

“The preliminary figures for 2021 are slightly higher than previous estimates and demonstrate the inelastic nature of the industry, which has shown itself to be capable of weathering the challenges of the last two years,” commented Renato Ancorotti, President of Cosmetica Italia. “The forecasts for 2022 are affected by various elements of uncertainty, from the increase in energy prices to tensions linked to the war between Russia and Ukraine. However, these grey areas do not seem to be having a negative effect on recovery and growth prospects: although the pace is somewhat slower, as things currently stand, the cosmetics industry’s turnover is estimated to grow by 2.7% in 2022, with a return to pre-crisis values.”