Cosmetics: Sharp Drop in Global Demand in H1-2020, with the Notable Exception of the Chinese market

Thanks to the relevant performance of protective creams and makeup preparations, the Chinese market shows a positive countertrend

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Fashion Great Lockdown Conjuncture Global demand Check performance Foreign markets Foreign market analysis

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Relevant effects of the lockdown on global demand for cosmetic products

In the second quarter of 2020, worldwide demand for Perfumes and Cosmetics1 dropped by 23.7% in EUR (more than 25% in USD), year-over-year. After a first quarter that showed a slight decline (-3.3% in USD), interrupting an almost constant growth dynamics, the first six months of the year marked an overall reduction of about 14% in USD values.

World Demand for Perfumes and Cosmetics:
quarterly evolution, seasonally adjusted values
Perfumes and Cosmetics: Evolution of World Demand
Source: ExportPlanning - Market Monitor, MarketBarometer

Cosmetics' downfall proved relatively less pronounced
compared to the average of the Fashion industry

Although relevant, the global demand downturn in the cosmetic sector resulted relatively less severe compared to the one experienced by the Fashion industry as a whole (-30% YoY in EUR in Q2-2020, as documented in the article "International Trade Flows of Fashion Products have Halved in the Lockdown Period").

Differentiated reductions
at the product level

In the cosmetic sector, the following segments experienced the sharpest repercussions in terms of global demand, due to the recessionary effects triggered by the pandemic:

  • Profumes and toiletries (-46.2% YoY in Q2-2020 in EUR, amounting to an overall 25.5% drop in H1-2020)
  • Eye make-up products (-35.7% YoY in Q2-2020 in EUR and an overall 24.1% drop in H1-2020)
  • Lips make-up products (-41% YoY in Q2-2020 in EUR and an overall 23.3% drop in H1-2020)
  • Face powders (-36.3% YoY in Q2-2020 in EUR and an overall 24.1% drop in H1-2020)

On the other hand, world demand for protective creams and make-up preparations has been relatively less penalized, with a YoY decrease of 13.7% in EUR in Q2-2020 and a reduction of about 5% in H1-2020.

World Demand for Perfumes and Cosmetics
World Demand of Perfumes and Cosmetics
Source: ExportPlanning - Market Monitor, MarketBarometer

In the face of generalized decreases at the geographical level, the Chinese market shows a favorable dynamics

In a context of generalized downfall in demand, with decreases almost spreading to every major market of the sector2, the Chinese market emerges for its positive performance, a significant countertrend compared to other main markets. In the US, for example, imports were down by 20% in USD in H1-2020; -25% in Germany, -26% in the UK.

Chinese Market for Perfumes and Cosmetics:
quarterly imports, seasonally adjusted values
Chinese Imports of Perfumes and Cosmetics
Source: ExportPlanning - Market Monitor, MarketBarometer

The information available in ExportPlanning, MarketBarometer section, about the Chinese market are fairly solid, since they are elaborated using the mirror flows techinique (e.g. based on both Chinese import declarations and partner countries' export declarations): these calculations report an increase in the Chinese cosmetics market estimated at nearly 10% in USD, in H1-2020 (YoY). While finding positive cues from several segments2, the favorable performance of the Chinese cosmetics market in H1-2020 is mainly attributable to Protective Creams and Make-Up Preparations3, with Chinese imports estimated to have increased by +14.4% YoY in USD.


(1) See the list of the products included in the sector in the related products' description.
(2) In the first half of 2020, the following segments showed a trend of growth in the cumulative values in euros on the Chinese market (imports from the world): Hair lotions, Preparations for manicure or pedicure, Preparations for waving or ironing, permanent.
(3) For details on the dynamics in the first half of 2020 in international markets in the Protective Creams and Make-Up Preparations segment, please refer to the publication ExportPlanning available on MarketResearch.com: "Protective Creams and Make-Up Preparations - International Trade in Q2-2020:Top Markets' Performance by Major Competitors.