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Published: November 2010
The worldwide market for cosmetics in 2009 exceeded $300 billion at the retail level. Western Europe remained the largest market for cosmetics in 2009; North America (United States and Canada) and Latin America (including Mexico) were in second and third place, respectively. The most dynamic markets in 2006–2009 were in developing countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. Brazil, China, and Russia are now among the top five markets for cosmetics and toiletries. Other countries on the top-ten list include the United States (the world's largest single-country cosmetics market), Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain.
The following pie chart shows world retail sales of cosmetics:
Worldwide, several driving forces have emerged that have created key cosmetic chemical market needs. These include the growing consumer preference for natural, mild, and non-animal-based products; corporate and consumer use of renewably sourced cosmetic ingredients; the introduction of beauty products specifically tailored for the ethnic market; the increased use of personal care products by men; and the growing role of nongovernmental organizations in discussions of consumer safety. These issues have accounted for much of the recent new product development work and are likely to determine many of the future changes in the cosmetic chemicals industry.
The cosmetic chemicals industry is fragmented; hundreds of suppliers provide the broad array of organic and inorganic chemicals that are the essential ingredients of cosmetics and toiletries. However, twenty or so major multinational companies control a substantial share of the cosmetic chemicals business. In most segments, between two and four companies dominate the market in a given geographical region. The great majority of sales in North America and Western Europe are directly to the cosmetics industry, but agents and distributors, in addition to some small specialty formulators, still account for a significant share. In Japan, distributors and specialty formulators play a much larger role.
The following pie chart shows consumption of cosmetic chemicals in North America, Western Europe, Japan and China by type:
The growing need for higher-performance, higher-purity products and data documenting their safety and efficacy has improved the competitive position of the large multinational companies. These companies have greater resources available for R&D, technical service, and expensive, time-consuming health and safety tests. They can also use these resources to supply the large multinational cosmetic companies on a worldwide basis, further increasing their position as the dominant suppliers to cosmetic companies.
The average annual growth rate for cosmetic chemicals on a volume basis for 2009–2014 is expected to be 1.8% in North America, 1.9% in Western Europe, 12.0% in China and only about 0.5% in Japan. The lower growth rates reflect the relative maturity of the markets in these areas. The high-growth regions of China, Russia, Brazil and India will make significant gains in the next five years. By 2014 China is expected to become the largest market worldwide on a volume basis.