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Markets & trends

New York, main trade hub for cosmetic products in the US

Many European suppliers have the feeling that the low level of the US currency compared to the euro is a serious impediment to transatlantic trade. Some of them consider there are no other possibilities than producing locally, but others chose alternative options.

Because of its size, the US market remains highly attractive. Compared to the parcelling of the European market, the United States can be considered as the biggest unified market in the world. However, rising costs of products imported from the euro-zone, compels the European industry to focus on its best assets: innovation, quality, and patrimonial value of the brands or know-how.

For the most innovative products, the current situation may also be a chance to stand out from the mass. It’s true for ingredients, and for natural products , as it is for supplement foods or nutraceuticals, and of course for luxury packaging,” notes Bruno Queyrel, a consultant for the organizers of Health and Beauty America (HBA). “As far as finished products are concerned, the situation is mainly favourable to niche brands, in particular those with a strong identity and personality, or with a strong historical or traditional background,” he adds.

Main gateway to America

In such a context, New York remains the main gateway to America for European suppliers and brands and is the main place to display, promote and select the offer from the other side of the Atlantic. The first reason is that 80% of US cosmetics makers are gathered within the States of New York and New Jersey. Then, many of the unavoidable shows of the industry take place in New York City: the Fifi Awards, the Suppliers Day of the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists, which targets both formulators and suppliers of ingredients, and, of course, the tradeshows: HBA for the industry’s suppliers, or the brand new PXA (Perfume Expo America) for selective perfumery.

European companies are present in every segment of the offer. However, companies with a prominent position in Europe are not always the best achievers in the US. Or those having the chance to be at the right place at the right moment, the markets answers quickly and sales agreement s rapidly make money.

However, it is important not to forget that competition is harsh on this market. As far as finished products are concerned, there is a profusion of young US designers. More than a hundred brands have emerged on the market over the last years, within the different retail channels, notably in the SPA sector. And there is no lack of suppliers willing to serve these customers.

Selection of the European offer

What’s positive in the current situation, is that the US market naturally selects the products,” explains Bruno Queyrel. Among the success stories, there are ingredients such as Tahiti’s monoi oil, Brittany’s or Mediterranean algae, traditional glass, Caron or Jovoy perfumes. All of them express their own selective specificity and directly profit of it.

In a word, proposing European products to US customers requires a precise positioning of the offer. That’s why, on the occasion of the HBA tradeshow, which will be held in New York from September 9 to 11, the Cosmetic Valley operated its own selection among its members. Other exhibitors are betting on their high quality offering: Léonard fine brushes, fine glasses, gold labelling, precision moulders, encapsulated actives, etc.

Eventually, New York is likely to gain a new positive image among the beauty industry insiders, whether they are suppliers or marketers of finished products. The city’s new role is also due to the numerous conferences and seminars that are organised there. Indeed, each year the world’s biggest operators participates in the events organised in the East Coast’s big city, either as speakers or attendees. From marketing to research and development, through regulations, all topics that are relevant to the industry are dealt with in New York, in particular on the occasion of HBA, which will host more than 200 speakers from across the world this year.

Vincent Gallon

Portfolio

  • Conference at HBA 2007
  • Exhibitor at HBA 2007
  • Hall at HBA 2007
  • Showfloor at HBA 2007
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