Continuing to ‘inspire’ the world: French cosmetic exports to hit €20bn in 2022

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

French beauty exports to China continue to be especially important, with lipstick still the number-one exported product to this country [Getty Images]
French beauty exports to China continue to be especially important, with lipstick still the number-one exported product to this country [Getty Images]

Related tags L'oréal exports FEBEA France China Us Makeup Fragrance Lipstick

French beauty exports will continue to surge in 2022, with China and the US set to remain important business markets for makeup and perfumes in particular, according to the French Federation for Beauty Companies (FEBEA).

Last week, France announced a “general deterioration”​ to its foreign trade balance in Europe, citing an “especially unfavourable international context”​ given the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. However, the country’s goods exports were still up by €285bn in the first half (H1) of 2022, exceeding pre-crisis levels – up 13% versus H2 2019. And within this, exports of cosmetic products were also up strong.

The French touch – ‘very good recovery’ in cosmetics

The French Federation for Beauty Companies (FEBEA) said exports during the first five months of 2022 were up 19% versus the same period last year, confirming a continuation of the “strong export dynamic” ​seen for the full year 2021.

By the end of 2022, FEBEA said it expected French cosmetic exports to hit almost €20bn.

In a statement, Emmanuel Guichard, general delegate of FEBEA, said: “This strong increase confirms to us that the reputation of French cosmetics continues to inspire internationally.”

And for France, these beauty exports were critical given the country remained the leading cosmetics producing market in the world and exported 60% of its production, according to Guichard. It was clear, he said, that the exportation of French cosmetics was experiencing “a very good recovery”.

Makeup and fragrances top French exports

In 2022 thus far, it was exports of French makeup and fragrances that had been the “most dynamic” ​in sales terms, ​according to FEBEA.

Exports to China – the leading destination for French beauty exports in 2021​ – were led by makeup, with lipsticks still the number-one product exported to the APAC country, followed by perfumes. Last year, French beauty exports to China generated in €1.9bn in business and represented 11.7% of its total exports worldwide.

For the first half of this year, French beauty exports to the US and Germany also saw makeup and fragrances lead, but perfumes trumped makeup for these two markets. After perfumes, eye makeup exports were significant for the US and lipsticks for Germany, according to FEBEA.

These export trends were close to those seen for the full-year 2021, where makeup, face care and perfumes represented 86.2% of total French beauty exports, though face care had represented most international business last year. Face care generated €7.5bn in business for 2021; much more than makeup which pulled in €1.5bn.

L’Oréal highlights ‘dynamic’ beauty growth worldwide

Earlier this month, French-headquartered international beauty major L’Oréal painted a picture of strong recovery for the international beauty market​, especially Europe.

During its first half (H1) 2022 earnings, the company reported worldwide sales growth of 20.9% and a net profit rise of 25.2%.

CEO of L’Oréal Nicolas Hieronimus said it was clear that after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic consumers wanted to “socialise and indulge themselves with innovative and superior beauty products” ​– fuelling growth in the global market. In particular, Hieronimus said interest in fragrances was soaring worldwide​ with especially strong appetite for this category in China.

Total beauty market growth for H1 2022, according to the company, was up 6% worldwide and up 14% in Europe. And according to Hieronimus, Europe was a beauty region that had now “fully recovered”​ from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

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