You are here

Perfumery-cosmetics industry on BFM Business


Group news

Second exporting sector of the French economy

Nowadays, the perfumery-cosmetics industry is the second exporting sector of the French economy, just behind the aeronautics sector, with a trade balance largely in surplus, 250,000 employees and a turnover of 45 billion.
Composed of more than 80% of SMBs, very small and small companies, the perfumery-cosmetics industry has been, like any French industry, very much impacted by the coronavirus crisis.



The perfumery-cosmetics industry has been impacted in various ways by the Covid-19 sanitary crisis.
First of all, in distribution, many changes have been observed, particularly in airports, where the “travel retail” has fallen by 70%. It was also observed that certain cosmetic products were selling better than others, such as all eye make-up products.
Some companies managed better than others. Established brands, benchmark brands and brands with high values have fared better than SMBs and suppliers, which have seen fewer projects come to fruition and have been impacted more severely by the coronavirus crisis.
According to Marc-Antoine Jamet, president of the Cosmetic Valley, the main stake today for the perfumery-cosmetics industry is to maintain its leading position. But the challenge of the ecological and digital transition is also essential. Consumers want more and more transparency, traceability, naturalness... The crisis has prompted the sector to make this transition more quickly. The entire value chain of the sector is located in France: formulation, testing, packaging, bottling, shipping...

“We are, thanks to the Made in France, the authenticity of the products, the performance of innovation, the protection of the consumer, the protection of the environment, the best.”


Brands in the perfumery-cosmetics industry are multiplying initiatives to reduce their environmental impact and are working hard on the issue of their packaging.
In France, beauty product packaging represents only 2% of all packaging. They are often not properly sorted and do not have a specific sorting bin. The packaging is perfectly recyclable but is not well sorted. As a brand, it is therefore necessary to provide consumers with this information and awareness.


The SPICE initiative (Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics), initiated by the L'Oréal group, brings together brands, packaging manufacturers and suppliers to work together on the evolution and innovation of packaging. SPICE has also launched a tool for rating the environmental impact of packaging, with a free version accessible to SMBs.
According to Guillaume Lascourrèges, Development Director in charge of the Clarins Group:

“Each material has properties that can be interesting for different packaging formats, and the aim is to use the most interesting one depending on the product we use, but also on the packaging's lifespan. Will it be recyclable? Will it incorporate recycled material? All these elements are rated to find the most efficient packaging and to be able to calculate more and more precisely what happens when you want to use glass, cardboard, plastic, as well as end-of-life scenarios: is your packaging ending its life in Russia, South Africa or the United States well managed, and if not, what is its impact.”



Today, the challenge for companies in the perfumery-cosmetics industry is to design a product that protects the formula for the final consumer while thinking about the end-of-life of the packaging.
Collaboration allows things and processes to be speeded up, but there is also co-design, where teams from two companies work together on new innovations and industrial processes.
To accelerate the transition to a circular economy or carbon-neutral products, the whole chain must work together, from ingredient suppliers to manufacturers, consumers and recyclers. To achieve this, companies need to share new technologies and innovations with each other.
According to Barbara de Saint-Aubin, Vice-President and General Manager Tubes of the Albéa Group:

“There are very strong challenges to maintain the industrial facilities in France. Finding circular economy solutions and maintaining employment and industrial plants in France is essential, while at the same time addressing with ambition the challenges related to the environment and the economic and sanitary crisis.”


Watch the replay here!