Sales of hygiene and cosmetic products in are still decreasing in France both in the mass and selective channels.

According Kantar Worldpanel, sales by mass retailers decreased by 2.2% in 2017 with even worst figures for shaving products (6.2%) and deodorants (5.5%). Sales of bath and shower products and sales of toilet soaps decreased by 0.6%.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, the French hygiene and beauty is facing a drop of purchases.

The economic upturn recorded in 2017 in France with GDP growth of 1.9% and the stabilization of the unemployment rate did not translate into higher sales for the cosmetics and toiletries industry.

According to Kantar Worldpanel the French beauty and hygiene market faces difficulties regarding value creation as well as with mere volumes with buyers less interested in the category. "Hygiene and beauty products are no longer a priority for French consumers," says the market research firm.

New opportunities for prestige products?

As far as prestige products are concerned, sales decreased by 1% in France according to The NPD Group. However, the channel recorded very good sales at the end of the year.

Strong end-year sales have limited the decrease of prestige beauty sales in 2017. - Photo: © Minerva Studio /

With a total value of 3 billion euros in 2017, the French prestige beauty market was driven by growing on line sales which surged by 27% last year, compared to 2016. Online sales of makeup products grew by 44%, followed by skincare products (+29%) and perfumes (+22%). Online beauty retailers such as Feelunique and Beauté Privée confirmed the trend by announcing record sales. So far, however, online sales have failed to compensate the drop of store sales.

End-year sales are another factor of optimism for the French selective beauty channel. The season started with Black Friday discounts, a successful operation this year in France. 30% of the sector’s annual sales were made in less than two months, between November and December.

Skin moisturizers ended the year with a slight increase (+1%), while lotions and tonics also saw their sales growing (+2%). While beauty masks only account for 3% of all beauty sales, they appear to be a real growth vector, driven by the growing popularity of K-Beauty trend in France.

As far as make-up sales are concerned, products for the lips maintained their momentum with sales growing by 3%. Lipstick sales increased by 2% but lip-glosses were the undisputed star in 2017, registering a 15% growth and supplanting lipstick as the makeup trend of the year.

Fragrance sales played an important role for the sector in 2017 with Eau de Parfum being the segment’s locomotive (+3%).