Beauty Boom: US Market on the Rise

Constant growth in US demand for foreign perfumes and cosmetics


Fashion United States of America Export markets Foreign markets International marketing

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Global demand for beauty and personal care products has experienced very strong growth in recent years. Data provided by ExportPlanning reveals that global demand for personal care products ended 2018 with an increase of 15.5%, and significantly, it shows no signs of slowing down. The largest import market for cosmetics and perfumes is US, with a total imports value of over $ 9 billion and a continuing strong growth trend - illustrated in Figure 1. US imports more than doubled in the past 8 years, making the country one of the primary target markets for cosmetic companies.

Figure 1: Cosmetics Products - Global and US Demand

 Cosmetics Products - Global and US Demand
Source: ExportPlanning.

The US market has experienced growth in all categories of personal care products. The increase recorded by skin care products particularly stands out; in 2013, the value of US skin care imports exceeded the value of perfume imports, which until that point, had represented the bulk of the total cosmestic imports basket.
Furthermore, on the basis of the global trade forecasts produced by ExportPlanning, this sustained growth phase in American imports of perfumes and personal care products seems set to continue for the next two years, thus signaling further market opportunities.

Figure 2: US Cosmetic Imports by Product

US cosmetic imports by product
Source: ExportPlanning

The US market is a complex one to deal with and cosmetic companies must overcome significant challenges to become winners in the export contest.
As in many other consumer sectors, beauty products are affected by four major macro-market trends that are transforming consumer habits: construction of brand image, customisation, attention to environmental sustainability and the importance of online sales.

Brand Image and Social Marketing

The Beauty industry is strongly effected by the latest trends and fashions. With the growing commercial strength of millenial consumers, whose purchases are driven by new trends and the buying behaviour of influencers and celebrities, it has become very important to focus on social marketing. Today, the creation of brand images takes place through multi-channel communication.

Customisation and Environmental Sustainability

Demand for skin care products is moving towards the high-end market segments, rewarding highly customised products. Diversity has become an added value and some cosmetic brands offer products almost entirely designed on consumer special requests. Cosmetic brands are increasingly offering tailor-made solutions to consumers; they are attempting to satisfy the customer's question: "Is it suitable for me or for my needs?"
Similarly, the growing awareness of environmental sustainability has led to greater attention around the composition of cosmetic products and the ingredients used in their production. Sustainability is an increasingly strong theme in consumer purchasing decisions, especially in mature markets like the US, as illustrated by the emergence of the Slow Fashion phenomenon.


One trend that is destined to significantly change the purchasing behaviour of consumers is the growing importance of e-commerce channel. Several digitally-made brands have achieved their success through e-commerce and only afterwards did they open physical stores; for example, Kylie Cosmetics.
E-commerce is a highly strategic tool for market penetration. It is estimated that today it represents about 10% of beauty sales in the US and that it will grow even further in coming years.