French exports of cosmetics crossed the threshold of 12 billion euros for the firsttime in 2016, with an increase of 2% compared to 2015.
The trade surplus in the cosmetics sector reached 9.2 billion euros and thus placed cosmetics in second place after the aeronautics sector.
"French cosmetics continues its international reach by combining the strengths of a high-quality image with those of innovation," said Patrick O'Quin, President of the Federation of Beauty Enterprises (FEBEA).
Dynamism in North America and Asia offsets European slowdown
Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy all remain in the top 5 of the countries to which France exports the most, even if the amount of exports tends to slow down in these 4 country.
The slowdown in Europe is largely offset by sustained growth in North America. Exports are on the rise to the United States (+ 8.5%), Canada (+ 4.5%) and Mexico (+ 4%).
The Asia region as a whole experienced growth of almost 10% in 2016 with increases in China (+ 15%), Singapore (+ 13%), South Korea (+ 18%) and Japan (+4 %).
Indeed, if Asia had experienced a more difficult year in 2015, in 2016 we can observe a real recovery in the whole region. Growth remains strong in China despite regulations that are ill-suited to constant innovations in this market.
Asia now accounts for 17% of cosmetic product exports.
Instability in other geographic areas
Exports to Latin America (-7.2%), European countries outside the EU (-3.5%) and the Middle East (-5.9%), on the other hand, experienced a real decline.
European countries outside the European Union have experienced a decline in their exports for several years. The ruble is an unstable currency, so this strongly impacts our exports to Russia (-13%).
The decreases in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia (-18%), United Arab Emirates (-5.8%) are linked to evolving and increasingly complex regulations, as well as to an economy in transition from due to the fall in the price of oil, the purchasing power of the Emiratis and Saudis is declining with significant consequences on their consumption of luxury products.
Exports to North Africa are down 3.6%, Egypt is the main cause of this decline with a drop in exports of -27%, again due to the country's very difficult economic situation.
The engines and new accelerators of French exports
Care and perfumes account for three-fourth of French cosmetics exports (43.4% for care and 31.3% for perfumes).
"High-end brands are still popular around the world, and pharmacy brands are accelerating their penetration," said Virginie d'Enfert, FEBEA's Director of Economic, Environmental and International Affairs.
Finally, French cosmetics are illustrated by new transformational characteristics that, in addition to the quality of the products, can explain its success. An increased vocation for well-being, innovation in distribution methods, and investment in science and technology are making a major difference.
"The players in the sector are committed to creating personal and collective well-being, self-care and environmental care. They are building new Internet distribution strategies and bringing out new physical outlets, such as the development of their own stores. And companies are rolling out the personalized, connected and technological cosmetics market, ushering in a new era," adds Patrick O'Quin, President of FEBEA.