“Once again, the French beauty market shows that its ability to resist in a difficult economic environment,” said The NPD Group. According to the market research firm, sales of selective cosmetics decreased by -0.6% in 2014 (vs. -0.9% in 2013) and achieved a total turnover of nearly 2.9 billion euros.
Two contrasted periods
The year was marked by two major phases. The first half was marked by a significant downturn (-1.5 per cent), followed by a rebound in sales from August, thanks to a trend shift on perfumes and makeup in the second half which closed with a +0.1 per cent increase, despite the fact that December sales failed to reach expectations.
"The good news came from the perfume and makeup that were back on growth trail in the second half, in particularly with strong performances of women’s fragrances driven by successful Autumn launches and by new additions to classic lines,” said Mathilde Lion, beauty expert for Europe at The NPD Group.
Perfumes drive the market
Fragrances, selective beauty’s main category of (2/3 of total sales in value), drove the market with sales increasing by +0.2 per cent in value over the whole year. Despite a number of launches higher than in 2013, men’s fragrances have not been that successful (-0.6 per cent in value over the whole year). On the contrary, women’s fragrances have found their way to growth (+0.6 per cent), boosted by new launches and the success of flankers.
“Women’s fragrances is the only category driven by innovation this year and brands’ strategies were more focused on the launch of flankers - such as Black Opium by YSL, La Petite Robe Noire Couture by Guerlain and Kenzo’s Kenzo Jeu d’Amour - rather than on the emergence of new concepts," added Lion.
While the overall prestige skincare market decreased in 2014, makeup broadly maintained its sales with a limited decline (-0.1 per cent). The year also recorded a return to growth for complexion enhancers (+ 1 per cent) driven by foundations and concealers.
Towards consolidation in 2015
“The French market is very mature and we cannot expect it to grow very strongly. However, with a lot of launches scheduled at the beginning of the year, we expect 2015 sales to be in line with the second half of 2014, but celebration periods such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Christmas) will be challenging and will give the mood for the year,” concluded Mathilde Lion.