Colour eases French BPC woes

Times are tough for France’s C&T industry, says Patricia Mansfield-Devine

The French beauty and personal care market has been struggling in 2013 and 2014. At present, France’s economy remains in severe difficulties, with unemployment running at around 10.2% and no sign of a recovery in immediate sight. With wages and purchasing power squeezed, cosmetics purchases are falling into two broad camps: everyday necessities such as shampoo and toothpaste and affordable treats such as budget make-up.

Figures for 2014 are not yet available from most analysts, but, in 2013, the personal care market was barely in positive territory, at 0.7% growth, according to market and shopper intelligence firm IRI. This was down from 1.1% in 2012 and 1.8% in 2011.

“The personal care trend in France is much lower than other FMCG departments, mainly food,” says Emily Mayer, Personal Care Business Unit Director at IRI. “This is because shoppers, faced with a difficult economic context, have to make choices about what they purchase. An anti-ageing cream is usually less fundamental than rice or water, and so it’s the first thing to go when they make a hard choice about what to leave out of their shopping baskets.”

Make-up is the saving grace of the beauty sector and while nail varnishes led the make-up market in 2013, experiencing double digit growth, in 2014 the emphasis switched suddenly to lips, with colour making a strong return.

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