Protectionism halts cosmetic progress in North Africa

A wave of protectionism is changing consumer behaviour and warping the cosmetics trade in North Africa, as Kaci Racelma, Jalal Bounouar and Heba Hashem report

Protectionism and currency problems are posing challenges for North Africa’s beauty and personal care markets, often forcing consumers to change their purchasing behaviour and turn to locally manufactured products where possible.


Egypt: Switch to local

In Egypt, the region’s most populous country, the fall in value of the local currency, the Egyptian pound, against the Euro has helped increase the price of imported products. For instance, €1 bought EGP19.06 on 6 April 2017 and EGP21.77 on 27 March 2017.

The introduction of higher customs duties on cosmetics also boosted this inflation in the beauty and personal care sector in 2017.

Customs duties on cosmetics increased from 40% to 60% in December 2016 to curb imports and encourage domestic production. These rising import costs have caused the black market to boom, with more counterfeit and smuggled goods available over the last year.

But local legitimate manufacturers have also benefited, with Egyptian consumers turning to cheaper local brands.

Indeed, there has been an increase in activity for locally manufactured brands, including a ‘Made in Egypt’ campaign undertaken by Egyptian companies such as Eva Cosmetics, Nabulsi Shaheen olive oil soap and Luna Perfumes & Cosmetics.

“As imported brands find it . . .

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