L’Oréal predicts ‘roaring 20s’ era for beauty in wake of pandemic

The century-old cosmetics group said the initial life after, or with, Covid-19 will be a ‘fiesta of make-up and fragrances’

The world’s largest cosmetics maker L’Oréal has predicted the Covid-19 pandemic will give way to another ‘roaring 20s’ era as the vaccination roll out gives fresh hope to consumers for a return to normal life.

Referring to the frivolity of the 1920s that came following the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic, the beauty owner’s outgoing chief exec predicted there will be a “fiesta of make-up and fragrances” at the group’s investor conference last week.

He added that “putting on lipstick again will be a symbol of returning to life” as people begin to socialise again following months of restrictions.

Stay at home orders, shuttered retailers and concerns about hygiene have had a knock-on effect on the cosmetics market.

With fewer destinations and mask wearing compulsory in many countries, sales of colour cosmetics have nosedived as women ditched their make-up bags for self-care skus.

However, some form of recovery is beginning to take shape for beauty players.

Agon’s upbeat announcement on Friday came after the French beauty owner of Maybelline and Lancôme reported stronger-than-expected sales for Q4, driven primarily by sales in Asia and its Active Cosmetics division, helping the group offset damage from the beginning of the year.

The 111-year-old beauty heavyweight’s Active Cosmetics division, which includes La Roche-Posay and CeraVe, recorded sales in excess of €3bn, a first for the company.

Meanwhile, the conglomerate’s business benefited from the significant recovery of the Chinese market in the second half of the year, with earnings up 27%.