An Expert's View about Medical, Health and Cosmetics Products in Italy

Posted on: 31 Oct 2011

The Italian toiletries and cosmetics market is sophisticated and highly developed. Cosmetics consumption in Italy is currently valued at 9.2 million Euros with a growth rate of one percent in 2010. The cosmetics market receives the second largest amount of investment in Italy, which demonstrates its continued importance in the lives of Italians despite slowed consumer spending caused by the global recession. The Italian cosmetics market is the third largest in Europe behind France and Germany.

Although highly competitive, there is potential for growth in several sectors of the Italian cosmetics industry. Body care, hair, face, and hygiene products continue to dominate the cosmetics industry and account for 68 percent of all cosmetics sales. Best prospects are found in facial skin anti-aging creams and lotions, innovative body treatments, slimming treatments, gift sets, raw materials and naturally derived products. Italian consumers are increasingly attuned to a “wellness culture” and products derived from natural active ingredients remain popular.

Market Demand
Italy has a large domestic cosmetics and fragrances industry, which include several multinational cosmetics companies selling their products. Italy is also a large exporter of cosmetic and toiletry products. In 2010, the Italian cosmetic market demonstrated a positive trade balance of 690 million Euros. The United States is the fourth largest export market after Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The UAE, Hong Kong, Poland, and Russia are important emerging markets for cosmetics produced in Italy.

The Italian Association of Cosmetic Industries (UNIPRO) reports that, although exports are still significant, there has been a revival in the domestic market, which has had a positive impact on the growth of sales volumes as a whole. Italians still prefer to buy the best quality products they can afford, while possessing a more cautious attitude towards spending money on luxury items. While the Italian cosmetics market is highly competitive, it is open to new products, particularly those that are natural or contain natural active ingredients derived from plants and vegetable extracts. Good potential exists for innovative products directed to problem areas (e.g., anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams, cellulite treatments, etc.). Similar potential exists for cosmetics products aimed at non-traditional consumers such as men, children, and the elderly.

There is an increasing market also for men’s products as they have discovered the pleasure and the benefits of dedicating more attention to their well being. An important factor is also the packaging of the product. It must be of high quality and good design as Italians prefer products that are nicely packaged and creative.

Market Data
Despite the recent economic recession, cosmetic consumption in 2010 exceeded 9.2 million Euros, increasing at a rate of 1 percent over the previous year, while exports increased by 15 percent to a value of over 2.3 million Euros. Ever increasing export levels demonstrates Italian producers’ ability to successfully navigate new markets while maintaining sales in established markets. Italy exports mainly to other European Union countries, the United States, and increasingly to markets such as Russia, Poland, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates. Italy imports nearly all its cosmetic ingredients. Substances such as aloe vera, lavender, and essential oils are used in the production of locally made products. Demand for raw materials will increase as Italy continues to sell its products abroad.

UNIPRO reports that body care products continue to dominate the cosmetics industry, comprising 16.2 percent of the total marketplace. Sales of cellulite treatments and body oils and lotions grew approximately 4.5 percent in 2010, while sales of suntan lotions decreased almost 2.5. Facial care, hair care, and body hygiene products follow with the highest market shares with 15.1, 14.7, and 13.6 percent, respectively. Leading the facial care product market, facial wipe sales increased by 7.8 percent in 2010 compared to 2009 with a turnover of 44 million Euros.

Nail care products continue to experience significant growth, with a sales increase of 7.2 percent and a turnover of 92 million Euros. The highest sales growth levels in 2010 were 16.1 percent for nail polish remover and 11.3 percent for make-up cases.

Direct sales of cosmetic products experienced the highest level of growth in 2010 with an increase of 7.2 percent. Although less dynamic than in years past, the pharmacy retail channel still remains a prefered avenue for purchasing cosmetics with an increase of 3.3 percent over the previous year and a commercial value of nearly 1.48 million Euros. The perfumery channel remains an important aspect to the concept of beauty with a market share of 24.6 percent. Although this channel seems to be overcoming a period of significant retraction with 0.7 percent growth in 2010, overall levels still remain lower than those in 2008.

The internet has yet to become a mainstream method for Italian consumption, while mail orders increased by 20 percent and door-to-door sales increased by 5.5 percent in 2010. The herbalist shop market continued to experience higher than average annual growth at 5.5 percent in 2010. Italian consumers continuously lean towards purchasing natural and health-oriented products. Pharmacies and herbal shops are the most successful “new avenues” of sales with five percent average growth over the past eight years.

Read the full market research report

Posted: 31 October 2011

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