French exports of cosmetic products decline for the first time since 2009


During a difficult year, marked by a global health and economic crisis, France exported more than 15.7 billion euros of cosmetic products, a decrease of 11.8% compared to 2019, according to figures released Friday by the French Federation of Beauty Industries (FEBEA).

Despite the troubled context, French cosmetics now holds 24% of the world market. The “Made in France” label remains an essential asset for the industry and for our economy as a whole,», Declared Patrick O’Quin, president of FEBEA.

Historic fall

According to French customs, this is the first drop in French exports of perfumes and cosmetics since 2009, and only the second in the last 20 years.

French exports of perfumes and cosmetics register their first decline since 2009, and only the second in 20 years

This drop should be compared with that of exports from other French manufacturing sectors, all on a downward trend in 2020, with the exception of pharmaceutical products (+ 4.7%).

China becomes the leading market for French cosmetics

On the other hand, French cosmetics exports to China grew by nearly 20.7% in 2020. Even if the pace is slowing down compared to 2019 (+ 48%), this sharp increase marks the country’s growing importance for the French perfume and cosmetics industry. Indeed, the Asian giant is now the leading market for the French cosmetics industry, ahead of Germany and the United States.

For example, China is “by far the leading buyer of French lipsticks, with more than one in four exporting to the country,», Declared the FEBEA. Skin care and even facial makeup are “highly regarded by Chinese consumers», Added the professional organization.

Soap sales on the rise

During this very atypical year, sales of know performed very well, everywhere in the world with an increase of 11.3% in value compared to 2019. This increase was strongest in Asia (+ 22%), ahead of Europe (+ 19% ).

On the other hand, French exports of perfumes fell by 16% and those of Eau de toilette decrease of 27.9% over the year, mainly due to a reduced number of launches, but also to the end of travel retail.


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