The French cosmetics industry saw record exports worth €19.2bn ($20.6bn) in 2022 with growth of 18.8% on the previous year.
FEBEA (Fédération des Entreprises de la Beauté) said the cosmetics sector now ranks as France’s third largest exporter behind only aeronautics and wines & spirits.
The fragrances category saw growth of 30.2% while make-up and facial care category recorded an increase of 11.6%. These two categories of products together represented exports worth around €16.5bn last year, more than 85% of the sector total.
The top three French exports were skin care products (creams, serums, make-up removers etc.); lipstick; and eye make-up products (mascara etc.).
The European Union remains the leading destination for exports of French cosmetic products, followed by the United States and China. Exports to the Middle East are also experiencing strong growth.
Sales to the EU grew 24.2% compared to 2021, driven in large part by a 33% annual growth in fragrance exports.
In total, the European Union attracts nearly 37% of total French exports of cosmetic products, with Germany the main market: it imports €1.9bn of French cosmetics, up 21% compared to 2021.
The American market recorded an increase of 28% in 2022. With €2.3bn of sales, the United States climbed this year to first place on the podium of countries importing French cosmetics, ahead of China.
China imported €1.954bn of French cosmetic products last year, a small growth rate of 3.1% explained by Covid restrictions.
Exports to the Middle East rose 33.8% on 2021 with growth of 41.8% in the United Arab Emirates and 20.4% in Saudi Arabia.
"We are very happy with these excellent results. They demonstrate that, despite the current economic and geopolitical uncertainties, despite the supply difficulties and the cost increases with which companies are confronted, French cosmetics retains a strong power of attractiveness in the world,” said FEBEA General Delegate Emmanuel Guichard.
“It has been able to reinvent itself to meet the new expectations of consumers, in particular by offering ever more sustainable and environmentally friendly products,” he added.