Driven by demand from the main European markets and the United States, French exports of cosmetic products continue their impressive growth. According to the Federation for Beauty Companies (FEBEA), the country exported a value of 8.6 billion euros of products over the first five months of 2023, an increase of 15.6% compared to 7.4 billion euros over the same period last year.

Hence, French cosmetic products continue to win over consumers around the world! After an increase of 18.8% in 2022, this mid-year report for 2023 confirms the dynamism of the two most successful categories of French beauty, “Perfumes” and “Make-up and face skin care”, which respectively grew by 16.7% and 16%. Alone, these two categories account for nearly 86% of French exports. But “all categories of cosmetic products recorded good results,” said the FEBEA.

Europe and the United States drive French exports of cosmetic products

Although international demand remains strong, China has ceased to play the leading role and the European Union and the United States have taken over.

With 3.4 billion euros exported between January and May 2023 (+26.1% compared to 2022), the European Union remains the leading export market for French cosmetics; the region accounts for more than a third of total exports.

Germany, the largest European beauty market, is also the main importer of French cosmetics. Export to this country grew by 22.2% in the first five months of 2023. Exports to Spain grew by 22.6%, confirming the country’s position as the second largest market in Europe for the sector. Italy, with an increase of 21.3%, consolidates its third position.

As far as the US market is concerned, French exports grew by 15.4% during the period. The United States remain the first buyer of French cosmetic products. To date, one in five perfume products is exported to the USA.

China and Asia slow down

On the contrary, exports to China, which increased by 1.1% over the first five months of the year (compared to the same period in 2022), are a bit disappointing for the French industry, despite an increase of 5.9% of the “Makeup and face skin care” category. The Chinese economy is struggling to restart and this is impacting the entire Asia region where exports only grew by 6.7%.

For its part, the Middle East has not picked up the slack and recorded a slight decline in performance at the start of the year, with a drop in exports of 0.4%. According to FEBEA, this figure is mainly explained by the sharp decrease in sales to Saudi Arabia (-25.4%), while the United Arab Emirates continued to show strong growth (+14.5%).

These disparities do not prevent the French cosmetics industry from continuing, overall, its remarkable export growth,” commented Emmanuel Guichard, general delegate of FEBEA. “The sector contributes significantly to the improvement of the French trade balance, despite current economic and geopolitical uncertainties. These performances reflect the sector’s capacity for innovation, and in particular that of SMEs and VSEs which represent more than 80% of companies in the sector. Their dynamism and creativity contribute to increase, year after year, the attractiveness of French cosmetics around the world.

In total, more than 60% of the total production of the French cosmetics industry is exported.