The conflict in Syria has impacted on sales in the Middle East cosmetics market, but in the Gulf sales are buoyant, as Paul Cochrane reports from Beirut
It has been a been a turbulent time in the Middle East since the Arab uprisings swept much of the region over the past year and a half, not only with sales of cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes being depressed by losses in consumer confidence but also with distribution being harmed, especially by the protracted conflict in Syria. But while some markets have been particularly affected by regional instability, notably the Levant, the more stable Gulf market is coming out of recession and experiencing a return to growth.
The conflict in Syria is having a wider impact on the cosmetics and toiletries trade than just sales lost in a country which had been a burgeoning market for multinationals and regional players since its economy opened up less than a decade ago. The sanctions imposed on Syria by the US and the European Union in 2011 resulted in multinational corporations (MNCs) such as Procter & Gamble having to exit the market last November, leaving local distributors with no MNC products for retailers.