Italian cosmetics industry ready for big relaunch


The Italian cosmetics industry confirms its international success. The latest figures on the sector’s performance in 2020 show a slowdown due to the Covid emergency, but also great resilience thanks to the resources that have always distinguished Italian entrepreneurs in terms of creativity, inventiveness and spirit of initiative.

The sector’s propensity for innovation and research is fundamental: despite a period of uncertainty, companies have invested 6% of their turnover in innovation and technology, more than double the national average. And there is one distinctive feature that should not be forgotten: the cosmetic product is indispensable, even in a period of severe recession.

During the pandemic, it became clearer just how much cosmetics are daily allies for personal hygiene, self-care and well-being. Since the outbreak of the emergency, the sector has offered its contribution through numerous actions: from the donation of detergents and sanitizers, to the conversion of entire production lines, to fundraising for health facilities.

Cosmetica Italia – the association that brings together Italian entrepreneurs in the sector – has worked with institutions, member companies and operators in the sector to ensure access to cosmetics and personal care products and the continuity of personal care services.

The key figures describing 2020 for the cosmetics sector are negative, albeit less critical than initially assumed: global turnover reached €10.5 billion (almost -13% compared to 2019), with domestic market values also down (around -10%) and exports (-16.7%). With the exception of e-commerce (+42% compared to 2019), all distribution channels contracted compared to the previous year; in some cases, such as in the professional channels, which were affected by repeated closures (hairdressing -28.5% and beauty -30.5%), these were particularly large drops.

Consumption of cosmetics recorded a negative trend across the board, with the exception of the product families that characterised, and are still characterising, the passage through the Covid-19 crisis: these are products related to body care (+6.3%), hair care (+3.9%) and oral hygiene (+1.4%). In particular, the most significant trends in terms of growth emerged among liquid soaps (+35%), hair dyes and colouring foams (+30.4%) and depilatory products (+5.3%). As a result of social conditioning and habits linked to professional and personal life, the biggest falls were instead seen in the alcoholic perfumery category (-21.5%) and in the various types of make-up; particularly significant were the negative performances of cheek concealers, blushes and earths (-28.7%), foundations and coloured creams (-29%) and lipsticks and lip glosses (-35.8%).

Gian Andrea Positano, head of the Cosmetica Italia Research Centre, points out: “Outlining a forecast scenario for 2021, we can currently hypothesise two different trend curves: one optimistic and one pessimistic, obviously linked to the evolution of the pandemic. The more optimistic scenario proposes growth of almost nine percentage points by the end of 2021, while the more pessimistic scenario shows a slower growth rate of just over five percentage points. The flash survey on sell-in in the first three months of 2021 follows the pattern of the same analysis proposed for the whole of 2020, confirming the evident recovery, compared to the same period of the previous year, although growth levels suggest a return to pre-crisis values not before 2022″.

These forecasts are enough to understand how the Italian cosmetics market and this sector can represent an excellent investment opportunity for Canadian companies.

Relevant Insights

Recent Case Studies