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Global top 3 for natural cosmetics: Asia, Europe, USA

France and Italy among Europe’s top markets

by oneco-Redaktion, Barbara Böck

Global top 3 for natural cosmetics: Asia, Europe, USA

Europe is one of the major markets for natural cosmetics in addition to Asia, Brazil and the USA. In terms of total sales of natural beauty care, Asia leads with a global market share of 37%, followed by Europe with 21% and the USA with 17%.

Within Europe, the West European countries are particularly strong and more than 70% of the estimated 2.5 billion euros for natural cosmetics sold are generated in these countries. Germany with sales of 815 million euros and a market share of 6.5% held top position in 2011 (Natural Cosmetics Report 2012). These figures are for sales of genuine certified natural cosmetics. Naturally inspired cosmetics achieve another 7.8% share of the total German cosmetics market of 12.67 billion EUR (Industrieverband Körperpflege und Waschmittel, IKW, Frankfurt). Experts forecast the market to continue to grow rapidly, as the cosmetic industry is also very actively devoting attention to the range in the meantime. After an 11% leap in sales in 2010, the growth rate in Germany has currently slowed down somewhat: the sector registered 2.5% growth in 2011.

France: top market for cosmetics from nature

With growth rates of more than 30% in the past years, the French market for natural cosmetics climbed to some 400 million EUR and second place in Europe. One of the motherlands of fashion and cosmetics is therefore on the way to becoming established as one of the sector’s top markets. Insiders expect the French natural cosmetics sector, which currently holds a share of about 4% of the total cosmetics market, to carry on growing rapidly. The success story of natural cosmetics also has historical reasons: Herbal cosmetics have a tradition in France, and the natural cosmetics association Cosmebio was set up back in 2002.

Natural cosmetics are obtainable in a wide variety of sales channels and enjoy growing popularity. In terms of sales in the various shopping outlets, the focus shifted from the specialist trade to the mass market between 2009 and 2011. According to a study by Cosmebio, pharmacies, parapharmacies, beauty institutes and the specialist organic trade have lost market shares, whereas the mass market and mail order trade have made definite gains. The French consumers do not make any great distinction between certified organic and naturally inspired cosmetics. Natural cosmetics are not an alternative to the conventional range, but a welcome supplement.

Natural cosmetics expert Elfriede Dambacher sees this as one of the most noticeable differences over the German market. The cosmetic industry in France also entered the segment earlier than Germany. The French cosmetics sector has acquired expertise, brands and a green image over the past years through acquisitions of classic natural cosmetic firms. In this way, organic lines have been created by the large international companies alongside the pioneering natural cosmetic brands.

Italy: inspired by herbal cosmetics

According to the Natural Cosmetics Report 2012, Italy is one of the top 5 markets for natural beauty care in Europe. Information from the Italian cosmetic association Unipro of Milan shows that the total cosmetics market in 2011 reached a volume of around 9.6 billion EUR. As in France, naturally inspired cosmetics have also been established for a long time in Italy. However, it is often the case that no distinction is made between certified natural cosmetics and naturally inspired products. The estimates of sales therefore differ by correspondingly large amounts. Experts estimate that the market for certified natural cosmetics reached a volume of between 280 and 290 million EUR and a market share of about 3%. Unipro estimates sales of natural beauty care in 2012 at about 400 million euros.

A major sales channel for phyto cosmetics and natural beauty care in Italy is provided by the Erboristerias (drugstores). Pharmacies and the Bottega Verde chain also offer green cosmetic ranges. The Coop Italia food chain, which has already listed a large selection of organic food for a long time, is currently launching a natural cosmetic brand called Vivi Verde on the market. Certified natural cosmetics are sold primarily via organic food shops and organic supermarkets. Besides “made in Italy” brands and similar from neighbouring countries, Italy’s major organic food wholesaler Ecor offers its retail trade customers its own certified label.

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