The region included in a circle of a hundred kilometres in diameter, which centre would be Milan and including the cities of Monza, Bergamo and Crema, is the spearhead of the Italian cosmetics industry. Accordig to the Polo Tecnologico della Cosmesi, the area gathers over 590 businesses in the beauty sector, which in 2017 generated EUR 5.7 billion in sales and with a workforce of more than 25,000 employees. They mainly include manufacturers of machines dedicated to the beauty industry (achieving a turnover of more than EUR 365 million and employing more than 1,300 people), manufacturers of cosmetic formulations, (EUR 3 billion, with 14,000+ staffs) and packaging manufacturers, (EUR 2 billion in sales with 10,000 staffs). Also according to the Polo, 65% of the makeup products sold around the world are produced in the area.
With a global demand that has constantly increased, both in volume and quality, over the past five years, the Italian beauty cluster really transformed itself, demonstrating once again its ability to a changing environment.
Artcosmetics’ brand new 30,000 m2 factory, which also serves as their headquarters, is emblematic of the transformation of Italian makeup specialists. From EUR 33 million in 2010, the company’s net sales have jumped to EUR 108 million (forecasted) in 2019.
Located in Fornovo San Giovanni, near Bergamo, the new facility houses an innovation centre and an R&D lab spanning over 1500 m2 and the bulk production capacity for emulsion and anhydrous has more than doubled.
Gotha Cosmetics made a similar move one year ago. The company, which also specializes in the design and manufacture of makeup products, moved to a new administrative and industrial site, a few blocks away from its former location in the North of Milan. The new facility features 3,000 m2 of offices, a production area of 12,000 m2, i.e., twice the size of the previous factory, the whole of it representing an investment of more than EUR 10 million.
And the packaging manufacturers did not stayed away from the general movement! Lumson, which has almost doubled in size in five years (the company’s turnover has increased from 49 million euros in 2013 to 96 million in 2018, an average growth of 15% per year), has invested heavily to increase and modernize its production capacities. The company now has brand-new headquarters in Capergnanica, in the suburbs of Crema, together with a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the production of technical components (mainly airless and atmospheric pumps), and a fully automated warehouse. In June 2019, the production capacity has been increased to135 million pieces, compared to 90 million pieces previously. Two years after the acquisition of Lepolast, a producer of packaging for lipsticks and glosses, Lumson has recently strengthened its make-up business with the acquisition of Marino Belotti, a company specializing in the production of compact cases and other powder boxes.
Agility and flexibility
To achieve this transformation, the network of Italian suppliers also had to adapt its capital structure. Mainly family-owned, companies in the beauty industry have gradually opened their capital to investment funds, some of which have sometimes acquired a majority stake.
In a context where the global make-up market seems to be slowing down, the Italian industrial fabric can still count on the flexibility of its network, also made up of a multitude of small companies, capable of manually processing small quantities or complex orders. An agile and flexible structure which, combined with a remarkable creativity and product knowledge, is one of the main assets of this cluster.