The export of the Italian cosmetics industry: Success, sustainability and innovation

The Italian cosmetics industry is enjoying a very successful period on the international market, with exports continuing to register significant growth rates.

According to Cosmetica Italia’s Annual Report 2023, Italian cosmetics industry exports will exceed 6.7 billion euros at the end of 2023, showing a growth of nearly 15 percent compared to the previous year.

These figures confirm the role of excellence and prestigious position that the Made in Italy beauty market has gained in the global market.

What are the main export destinations of the Italian cosmetics industry?

In 2022, the United States surpassed France as the top destination country, and in 2023, it is also confirmed in first place. They are followed, unsurprisingly, by France and Germany. In fourth place is Spain, followed by the United Kingdom, Poland, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Finally, in the ranking of states involved in the export of the Italian cosmetics sector we also find the United Arab Emirates and Russia, which grows by +69.9%, in ninth and tenth place respectively.

Excellent performances also in China, a recovering market, and in India, Canada and Brazil.

Also not to be overlooked are the countries of the ASEAN area, where Made in Italy in the beauty market is very competitive.

2 drivers of international consumer choices interested in the beauty market

Sustainability and Innovation: the 2 main drivers of consumer choices, increasingly attentive and attracted to both organic products and cutting-edge services.

Consumers show a particular attention to products in the beauty market with specific certifications and labels, such as vegan- approved or cruelty free, and are increasingly interested in personalized skin care advice.

At this time, precisely the focus on sustainability and innovation, together with quality, authenticity and attention to consumer needs, are the pillars on which the export success of the Italian cosmetics industry is based, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth and prestige in the international context.

Italian companies at work in the beauty market.

Our companies are measuring the impacts of their products and production, communicating their sustainability strategies to consumers and stakeholders, who are increasingly demanding transparency.

The national association of cosmetics companies, Cosmetica Italia, is actively working to promote sustainable development and social responsibility in the industry, with the aim of raising the level of reputation of the cosmetics industry as a conscious and sustainability-conscious industry.

The environmental impact of the cosmetics industry is receiving attention: estimates indicate that the industry’s emissions account for up to 1.5 percent of the planet’s total emissions. However, cosmetic companies are adopting innovative solutions to reduce their environmental footprint along the entire value chain. From raw materials to packaging, from transportation to product use phase, solutions are being sought that can make a difference in decarbonization.

We are witnessing a growing demand for products with natural ingredients and oriented toward environmental sustainability: suffice it to say that in 2023 natural and green cosmetics will reach a value of 3.1 billion euros, representing a very interesting and promising segment that pushes many companies to move in this direction, offering the market organic formulations or those produced with low environmental impact.

Beauty market: about Cosmoprof 2024

In this area, an important platform for the discussion and implementation of sustainable and innovative solutions in the cosmetics industry is Cosmoprof, not only an exhibition space but more importantly an opportunity to bring together key players in the industry around these important issues.

In fact, the March 2024 edition in Bologna will award the most innovative and sustainable companies in the beauty industry.

In this extremely positive scenario, however, the Italian cosmetics industry must be ready to seize new opportunities in international markets, embracing sustainability as a competitive lever and offering high-quality products, confirming the leadership it holds globally.

Martina Villa


At Roncucci&Partners we help companies develop themselves and their business, embrace change and evolve to thrive in a world that is increasingly complicated, insidious and requires great expertise. We do this by applying punctual methods and rigorous strategies, the result of many years of experience and the richness of the numerous success stories we have conducted all over the world. Passion and method are indeed our guides to enhance the present and build the future.

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