Translated by
Nicola Mira
Mar 21, 2017
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World beauty and cosmetics market grows 4% in 2016, driven by the 'selfie generation'

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Mar 21, 2017

The cosmetics market is in buoyant health: it has grown in each of the last ten years, and in 2016 it generated a global revenue of €205 billion according to the estimates of French giant L'Oréal, owner of the L'Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Nyx, Essie, IT Cosmetics and Urban Decay brands. 

The world cosmetics market has grown in each of the last ten years. - L'Oréal

L'Oréal has recently published a survey of the international cosmetics market in 2016, based on its own data and on figures from several market research institutes such as Euromonitor and Ipsos. The world market's main growth driver turned out to be make-up, which in 2016 enjoyed a record 8.4% surge, and has thrived at all levels, from the luxury and professional segments to mass market distribution.

L'Oréal observed how the runaway success of make-up "is notably driven by the selfie generation and the boom of social media, where appearance, self-expression and personal make-over rule." Indeed the consumption expenditure of Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and of the Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010) was higher than that of the population at large. For example, the cosmetics budget of French people in the 19-24 age bracket is $42, compared to a national average of $35. For young Americans it is as high as $49, compared to a national average of $37.

Lipstick topped the product ranking in 2016. The lip products category skyrocketed, growing 13.6% thanks to 1.5 billion products sold in the year. In the survey, L'Oréal highlighted how lip product use varies according to geography: US women are among those who enjoy the widest range of lip products (balm, varnish, lacquer etc.); young French women have more of a penchant for lip gloss and soft, transparent hues than their elders; and Chinese women are among those who put a premium on natural colours, such as beige or pale pink.

Global market shares of skincare, haircare, make-up, fragrance and personal care products - L'Oréal

Though make-up is the fastest-growing category, the world number one cosmetics product category is skincare, with a market share of 36.3%, ahead of haircare (22.9%), make-up (18.2%), fragrance (12%) and personal care products (10.5%).

In geographical terms, Asia-Pacific is the dominant region worldwide for cosmetics, generating 36.9% of global sales, ahead of North America (24.8%), Western Europe (19.3%), Latin America (10.2%), Eastern Europe (6%) and Africa and the Middle East (2.9%). 

Not surprisingly, L'Oréal is the most powerful global player in cosmetics, with a revenue of $28.02 billion (€25.8 billion), ahead of Unilever ($20.47 billion), Procter & Gamble ($17.6 billion), Estée Lauder ($11.1 billion) and Shiseido ($7.11 billion).

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