The prestige beauty market in France has faced many challenges in the past few years with a tough economic climate plus domestic social issues that have, in some instances, kept consumers away from stores. The total value of the prestige beauty market in France in 2018 was valued at €2.9 billion, a decline of 2 percent on the previous year.
The gilets jaunes (yellow vest) anti-government movement gained international attention, dented confidence in the market, and impacted sales in many sectors across the country with road blockages and weekly protests in Paris late in the year. Whilst it is difficult to establish a direct correlation between this and the decline in sales, it is believed that this did have some impact on consumer confidence in France as many shops were closed and distribution channels were disrupted.
More widely in the French market, and in line with international trends, French consumers are becoming increasingly interested in sustainability, traceability of ingredients and the concept of zero waste. This presents many opportunities for brands and retailers as the interest wellness, healthy eating and natural beauty continues to grow.
There are some positive stories to tell in the prestige beauty market. The total value of make-up sales in France was valued at €440 million in 2018, a slight decline on the previous year. However, there in an interesting category emerging that is performing well. Sales for face, eye and lip applicators in France have all accelerated over the last two years, reporting double-digit growth in 2018.
The total market for the sale of make-up applicators, which includes brushes and sponges (amongst others) was €2.6 million in 2018, an increase of 19 percent on the previous year. What is interesting to note is the breakdown of each respective category. The sale of face applicators increased 15 percent, eye applicators by 30 percent and lip applicators grew by 105 percent. The bulk of the sales were in national chains and department stores, with ecommerce also performing well.
Overall, 2018 has proved challenging for retailers in the prestige beauty market in France; however, against a tough economic climate, retailers and brands are working to adjust their operations to capitalise on the popularity of ecommerce and enhance the experiential offering in store.