The Impact of COVID-19 on the Cosmetic and Personal Care Sectors: Trade Data & Analysis

Beauty portrait of a woman wearing lipstickThe latest ExportPlanning estimates for world trade dynamics highlight unfavorable results for the Perfumes and Cosmetics sector, which continued to show bleak performances in Q3-2020, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 shock.

Nonetheless, an improvement can be noticed compared to the first half of the year: after a significant drop in global imports in H1-2020, Q3 has in fact marked the start of a phase of rebound.

Perfumes and Cosmetics: Sharp Fall and V-Shaped Rebound

The global demand for perfumes and cosmetics is expected to increase by 24.6% QoQ in Q3-2020, while YoY variations should still remain in negative territory (-5.2%).

Cosmetics Industry Chart I

Among the major exporters of the sector, only Korea and Japan are expected to increase their
foreign sales in YoY terms in Q3-2020. As regards demand trends, only a minority of international markets show positive growth dynamics in the first 3 quarters of the year, compared to the same period in 2019. Among the most significant exceptions in terms of favorable performance we can find the Chinese market, with a forecasted 30.3% YoY increase in imports of perfumes and cosmetics in Q3-2020, as well as Hong Kong (+20.4%).

Focusing on Eye Make-up Products, the world trade scenario is quite gloomy, as well, even if a V-shaped recovery can be clearly inferred from our estimates: even if global demand fell by almost 15% YoY in dollars in Q3-2020, QoQ dynamics suggest a strong rebound (+34.3%). Overall, in the first 3 quarters of 2020 global imports of eye make-up products fell by more than 22% compared to same period in 2019, in line with the trend shown by other non-essential goods.

As regards Lip Make-up Products, global demand decreased by 25.4% YoY in Q3, for an overall 26% fall in the first 3 quarters of the year. In both sectors, sharp decreases in foreign sales in 2020 characterize all the main competitor countries, as you can see from the graph below.

Cosmetics Industry Statistics Chart II

In the Eye Make-up Products sector, in the first three quarters of the year only 25 of the 152
markets monitored by ExportPlanning showed a performance of growth, compared to the same period in 2019. In the Lip Make-up sector, the share of growing markets in the first 3 quarters of 2020 amounts to just 16%, indicating difficult demand conditions in the current historical phase.

As concerns another key product in the cosmetic industry, such as Protective Creams and Make-Up Preparations, the general context shows positive demand dynamics in the first 9 months of the year for less than a third of the market analyzed. Nonetheless, global demand is expected to rise by 5% in Q3-2020 (YoY), also due to the favorable contribution of the Chinese market: Chinese imports of Protective Creams and Make-Up Preparations showed a 36.5% YoY growth in USD in Q3, for an overall YoY growth of 30% in the first 3 quarters of the year.

Greater Resilience for Personal Care Products

Personal care products proved more resilient than cosmetics in weathering the pandemic, due to their status of consumer goods: global demand increased by 5.7% YoY in the last quarter.
Considering the first 9 months of 2020, ExportPlanning estimates project a modest 1.1% YoY
growth. As regards international markets' performances, imports of Personal Care Products recorded relevant growth on several key markets, such as:

  • China: +11.8% YoY in Q3-2020, +10.2% YoY in the first 3 quarters of 2020
  • Canada: +9.5% YoY in Q3-2020, +13% in the first 3 quarters of 2020
  • US: +12% YoY in Q3-2020, +7.4% in the first 3 quarters of 2020

Where to Learn More

Do you want to know more? Read new reports by ExportPlanning that explain international trade in Q3-2020 and top markets' performance by major competitors. You can find the full reports here:


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ExportPlanning market research reports provide a broad overview of market trends (past, current, and expected) for all the relevant markets, as well as the position of the main competitor countries, for a specific strategic business unit (product, sector, or industry). They therefore, constitute very effective information support for companies willing to conduct thorough market research before entering a foreign market, or just looking to stay up to date with the latest trade trends in their industry. The reports make extensive use of data visualization to help the user grasp ideas and concepts quickly and effectively.
Topics: Cosmetics & Personal Care Industry Insights