What does the cosmetics industry do for Europe?

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

What does the cosmetics industry do for Europe?

Related tags Cosmetics

According to a new study by Cosmetics Europe, the contribution of the cosmetics industry to the socio-economic landscape throughout Europe is wide-reaching and has significant impact.

For an industry currently valued at EUR 77 billion, the research reveals that the impact of cosmetic products on the 500 million living in Europe contributes to well-being and healthy lifestyles, as well as positive self-esteem.

It also outlines that the entire range of product categories, from fragrances, colour cosmetics, shampoos, sunscreens and toothpaste also play an essential role in personal care at all stages in life and among all the different demographic groups in the European population.

Trade in Europe and beyond

But beyond the social aspect, the industry itself is also a significant boon for the European economy, attributing an estimated Euros 33 billion from trade in both cosmetic products and ingredients.

Likewise, about half of this figure, an estimated Euros 17.2 billion, is exported beyond Europe, with products and ingredients end up throughout Africa, the Middle East, the Americas and the Asia Pacific region.

And much of this trade is serving to benefit countries that have been strongly affected by the Euro crisis, the report finds, with many of the countries in Southern Europe particularly benefiting.

Many SMEs play a big part in the industry

Naturally the European cosmetics and personal care industry is dominated by big players such as L’Oreal, Unilever, Beiersdorf and Henkel, but the report also highlights how an estimated 4,605 SMEs also make a significant contribution to this sector in Europe.

On top of this, the research and development aspect of the industry also plays a big part in the European economy, and also serves to provide employment for an estimated 26,000 scientists, practicing a diverse range of disciplines that amounts to an R&D spend of approximately Euros 1.27 billion annually.

Environmental responsibility

Environmental responsibility has also proven to be very important to the industry, which goes hand-in-hand with the big rise in natural and organic products with sustainable and eco-friendly claims.

The report finds that self-regulation by the industry has served to make the industry one of the most advanced in Europe in this respect, which is underlined by the industry first independent audit by the European ADvertising Standards Authority in 2014/15, showing that over 90% of product claims were compliant.

A further example of self-regulation and environmental responsibility came at the end of 2015, when European cosmetics body Cosmetics Europe recommended to all its members that they discontinue the use of potentially environmentally toxic plastic microbeads in scrubs and washes from 2020.

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