While Italian cosmetics companies are enjoying the crucial revival of foreign trade, they feel it is high time for greater recognition. Nadia Di Martino reports on the Italian beauty market in the post-recession era
Given that Italy exports about a third of its cosmetic production, the fact that this year has seen an improvement in the global economic situation was excellent news for the country.
According to provisional data released by the official cosmetics trade body Unipro, the Italian beauty industry performed well in 2010, especially if one considers what the market faced just a year ago.
With the uplift in the worldwide economy, Italian exports inched up 17% to about €2.39m and cosmetics trade body Unipro believes this is evidence of the good quality of the Italian offer. Not only has Italy reconfirmed its role in classic markets such as the US but the country has also expanded its exports onto new international markets. In the past couple of years exports were the most affected sector in Italy, which during the recession recorded losses of more than 12%. Fabio Franchina, president of Unipro said: “The main markets we export to are Germany, France, the UK and the US. We have also increased our exports to Hong Kong by 54% and this is great as it’s the door to China.”
Gian Andrea Positano, director of Unipro’s statistical centre, comments on 2010’s results for the Italian market: “The forecast for the future is that Italian exports will increase further, partly thanks to the re-evaluation of the US dollar.” Positano also explains that Italy is currently aiming at developing and strengthening its relations with more distant markets. “In India the cosmetics industry has been growing steadily and consumers are very much into hygiene, personal care and a mix of wellness and well-being so this is definitely an interesting market for us,” he said.
The impressive results of the recently held Italian trade exhibition Cosmoprof Bologna 2011 (18-21 March) seem to confirm that the Italian beauty industry is recovering lost ground after a series of challenging seasons. Cosmoprof saw 2,300 exhibitors gather from 58 countries and on the opening day the exhibition recorded the return of an increasing number of foreign visitors, especially from the US, France, Germany, eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Meanwhile a new wave of visitors flooded Bologna from India, Australia and the Far East, where several countries are in the process of consolidating their business in the cosmetics industry. Cosmoprof Bologna 2011 recorded an 8% increase in foreign visitors compared to the previous year to total 36,076, which is telling of the improving international economy. These figures from show organiser SoGeCos not only highlight a return to form for the 44th edition of Cosmoprof Bologna but are also evidence that Italy remains in the spotlight of the global beauty sector.
Strengths & weaknesses
However a closer look at the Italian economy is necessary to better understand the full dynamics of a healthy cosmetics industry, which is not as successful as it could be.