‘Cosmetics cannot live in a bubble’: Industry calls to cancel 2020 events mount

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

Many other industries have cancelled 2020 shows entirely and The European Organization of Cosmetic Ingredients Industries and Services (UNITIS) believes cosmetics should follow suit (Getty Images)
Many other industries have cancelled 2020 shows entirely and The European Organization of Cosmetic Ingredients Industries and Services (UNITIS) believes cosmetics should follow suit (Getty Images)

Related tags: UNITIS, trade association, Cosmetics, in-cosmetics Global, SEPAWA, COVID-19

The European Organization of Cosmetic Ingredients Industries and Services (UNITIS) has called on tradeshow organisers to cancel all 2020 cosmetics events, stating a need to remain sensitive to the reality and constraints currently facing industry.

The call from UNITIS, detailed in an open letter​ published on its website and social media channels, added to sentiments raised in a separate open letter​ by the European Federation for Cosmetic Ingredients (EFfCI). EFfCI said its members felt unable to work with so many events in such a short space of time and did not feel confident it was appropriate or safe​.

UNITIS called on all 2020 shows to be cancelled and postponed to 2021 and asked tradeshow and exhibition organisers to be “sensitive to the reality and constraints”​ across industry during current times.

Many other industries had already “led the way” ​by cancelling all events scheduled this year, UNITIS said in its open letter – “cosmetics cannot live in a bubble”.

Continued uncertainty, internal travel restrictions for cosmetics

UNITIS said there was still “uncertainty on how the pandemic will evolve in the different countries of the world and for how long the current international restrictions to movement will be in place”, ​forcing all players throughout the cosmetics supply chain to rethink priorities for the coming months.

It said that the current priority for most was “protecting the health and safety of the employees of the whole supply chain”,​ along with recovering industrial production, research and development projects and adapting to new demands amidst this ongoing crisis, all within “enormous pressure”​ to reduce costs.

“…The industry is not in the position to invest efforts, time and money in organising or attending exhibitions and, for safety purposes, most of the companies of the sector have issued internal policies limiting the travels of their teams and prohibiting the attendance to large events. Those policies are likely to remain in practice for the whole year 2020. As a result, the expected attendance to exhibitions is very low,” ​UNITIS said.

Navigating an uncertain future and lack of visibility

The trade association said that recent weeks and months of coronavirus lockdowns and business closures had created a “lack of future visibility for cosmetics companies”,​ with consumer activity down and industry customers deferring investments and postponing projects.

“…As a consequence of all the mentioned factors, and after analysing all aspects, we do not consider the realisation of any international business exhibition to be feasible during 2020.”

Any postponement to 2021 should also be “without any financial penalties for exhibitors”,​ UNITIS said.

Some 2020 industry events still planned for this year

A host of important worldwide cosmetic industry events had already been cancelled and rescheduled amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with some still set to take place later this year.  

In-Cosmetics Global, set to take place in Barcelona earlier this year in March, had been rescheduled from its initial date to 6-8 October, this year. Organisers had run some bite-sized online conferences and planned a series of online live ingredients demos in the meantime.

The annual SEPAWA Congress was also still scheduled to go ahead in Berlin at the end of October, this year. The board and event organisers said last week there was “no change in the calendar” ​and all precautions would be taken to ensure “a maximum of health and safety measures”​ at the show. Disinfectants and the provision of mouth and nose protection masks along with further precautions would be implemented, SEPAWA Congress said.

“Due to the spacious premises in the Estrel Congress Center, we are in the comfortable position to react to any possible governmental rules of distance and conduct with additional space and to adapt the event accordingly,”​ it said.

“…With all these considerations and forward planning, we are of course subject to the further development of the corona crisis. We all trust that the situation will have eased considerably in six months’ time and that further steps towards normality will have been taken,”​ it concluded.

PCHi in China had also maintained its rescheduled dates next month, set to take place in Shanghai on 8-10 July.

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