Below is a look at the company's 2020 highlights, recent acquisitions, best-selling brands, and latest innovations.
- Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and chief executive officer (soon to be succeeded)
- Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy chief executive officer
- Laurent Attal, executive vice president, research and innovation
- Lubomira Rochet, chief digital officer
- Cyril Chapuy, president, L’Oréal Luxe
- Vianney Derville, executive vice president, Western Europe Zone
- Jochen Zaumseil, executive vice president, Asia Pacific Zone; Myriam Cohen-Welgryn, president, Active Cosmetics
- Fabrice Megarbane, president, L’Oréal China
- Alexandra Palt, executive vice president, chief corporate responsibility officer and L’Oréal Foundation
- Alexis Perakis-Valat, president, Consumer Products
- Alexandre Popoff, executive vice president, Eastern Europe and Africa, Middle East Zones
- Nathalie Roos, president, Professional Products
- Frédéric Rozé executive vice president Americas
- Stéphane Rinderknech president and CEO, L’Oréal USA
- Rahquel Purcell, senior vice president, head of operations, L’Oréal North America
- Jacques Playe, global head of packaging & product development
- Leslie Marino, president, Professional Products Division American Brands
Update: Nicolas Hieronimus will succeed Jean-Paul Agon as CEO of L'Oréal.
- L’Oréal Luxe
- L’Oréal Paris
- Urban Decay
- L’Oréal Professional
- Ralph Lauren
- Viktor & Rolf
- Giorgio Armani Beauty
- Valentino Beauty
- Thayers Natural Remedies
- YSL Beauté Pure Shots Daily Dose Serum Eessentials Set
- Urban Decay Naked Honey Eyeshadow Palette
- L’Oréal Paris Sulfate-Free Scalp Care & Detox Shampoo
- L’Oréal Paris Shimmer Liquid Eye Shadow Makeup
- Garnier Nutrisse Color Revivers
- Lancôme Monsieur Big Waterproof Mascara
- Fructis Treat shampoo and conditioner
- Kérastase Bain Hydra-Fortifiant Shampoo
- Maybelline Brow Extensions Pomade Crayon
- Kiehl’s Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask
L’Oréal had another remarkable year in 2019, and maintained its role as the No. 1 beauty company on our annual Top 20 list, with beauty sales reaching $33.4 billion—a 4% rise over last year’s impressive $30.8 billion number. The world’s largest beauty company now claims 1.5 billion customers around the globe.
In commenting on 2019 results, Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO of L’Oréal, said: “L’Oréal closed the decade with its best year for sales growth since 2007, at +8.0% like-for-like, and an excellent fourth quarter, in a beauty market that remains very dynamic.” All divisions grew. L’Oréal Luxe grew by +13.8% like-for-like sales, and exceeded 11 billion euros, thanks to its four billion-euro brands—Lancôme, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani and Kiehl’s—which all posted double-digit growth. With record growth of +15.5% like-for-like, the Active Cosmetics Division had its best year ever, with La Roche-Posay sales topping one billion euros. Growth at the Consumer Products Division finished out the year at +3.3% like-for-like, highlighted with great results by L’Oréal Paris, which recorded its strongest growth since 2007, due to major launches such as Rouge Signature in makeup and Revitalift Filler with hyaluronic acid in skin care, rolled out globally in ampoule and serum format. And the Professional Products Division (+3.2% like-for-like) growth was boosted with the double-digit performance of Kérastase.
The Consumer Products division was the strongest, followed by L’Oréal Luxe, Professional Products and Active Cosmetics (which saw the greatest growth). By geographic zone, New Markets led the pack, followed by Western Europe, then North America.
Performances by geographic zone were mixed. The New Markets posted their strongest growth in more than 10 years. Asia Pacific became the Group’s No. 1 zone, with impressive annual results in China, but also good growth in South Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. Eastern Europe maintained its strong growth rate, and Western Europe returned to growth last year. North America was impacted by a poor performance in makeup.
E-commerce and Travel Retail were also critical in adding to the Group’s success. E-commerce grew by an unprecedented +52.4% 6 and accounted for 15.6% of sales. Travel Retail maintained its strong momentum and posted growth of +25.3%.
At the end of the year, L’Oreal added to its fragrance business, signing an agreement with Clarins for Mugler and Azzaro fragrances; and with fashion house Prada, for its fragrance license. The fragrance from the Italian prestige company is set to enter L’Oréal’s luxe portfolio in 2021.
Who would have guessed the swift turnaround? From Agon first recognizing pending troubles due to Covid spreading in China, to acknowledging it as a beauty sales deterrent worldwide, the situation escalated rapidly, especially when brick-and-mortar retailers and travel closed down. L’Oréal secured their workers and offices, produced and donated huge quantities of hand sanitizer—and moved forward with online sales strategies.
Forging ahead with its commitment to sustainability and “the limits of the planet,” at the end of June, L’Oréal launched a new sustainability program called “L’Oréal for the Future,” highlighting the Group’s latest set of efforts to become fully sustainable by 2030, including that by 2025, all of L’Oréal’s sites will have achieved carbon neutrality by improving energy efficiency and using 100% renewable energy; by 2030, 100% of the plastics used in L’Oréal’s products’ packaging will be either from recycled or bio-based sources; and pledging to support urgent social and environmental needs, through an unprecedented plan launched in May 2020, in which the Group set aside €150 million for the cause.
Product- and packaging-wise, in order to empower its consumers to make more sustainable choices, L’Oréal has developed a Product Environmental & Social Impact Labelling mechanism, scaling from A to E, endorsed by independent scientific experts and verified by an independent auditor, which will be progressively deployed for all brands and categories.
By 2030, 100% of L’Oréal brands will be made with 100% recycled or bio-based plastic, saving 18,000 tons of virgin plastic each year—and increasing the use of paper-based tubes and bamboo alternatives. By 2025, all plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable.
As some signs of the pandemic waned, L’Oréal signed an agreement to acquire Thayers Natural Remedies, a U.S.-based natural skin care brand from Henry Thayer Company. The brand will be integrated into L’Oréal’s Consumer Products Division.
With more emphasis than ever on packaging, L’Oréal appointed Jacques Playe as global head of packaging & product development. He is the former chief technology officer of L’Oréal’s Research & Innovation team, and replaces and succeeds Philippe Thuvien, who retired.
In July, Valentino Beauty announced Lady Gaga as the face of their new perfume, Valentino Voce Viva (Living Voice). It was created by Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino Beauty—and the Valentino Beauty team at L’Oréal. According to the brand, Lady Gaga speaks to the same values as those of Valentino.
Also in July, Agon revealed that L’Oréal was considering an internal replacement for him. He has been with the global giant since 1978, but corporate policy is to announce a successor prior to when he turns 65 in July 2021. A successor is expected to be named this fall, with Nicolas Hieronimus, deputy chief executive officer, reportedly at the top of the list.
Following a drastic 18.8% fall in second-quarter comparable sales, L’Oréal announced sales growth in July—for the first time since January—largely owing to the Chinese comeback from the virus and hopes for a global turnaround. A huge uptick in online sales of skin care and hair care products by stay-at-homers aided the bottom line.
In the first half of 2020, L’Oréal reported sales of $15.35 billion, a decrease of 11.7% like-for-like compared to the prior period.
The consumption of beauty products over the period was strongly impacted by the closure of millions of points of sale (hair salons, perfumeries, department stores, airport stores, etc.) which caused a real crisis of supply, rather than demand, with consumers temporarily unable to purchase products and services, said the company.
Despite this, Agon commented that the company demonstrated great business resilience. He noted that L’Oréal has seen its activity accelerate month after month since April, and it is progressively returning to growth. According to Agon, sales rose in July for the first time since January.
“This business resilience was made possible by several key strengths of the Group,” Agon explained. “First of all, our lead in the field of digital and e-commerce, which proved to be crucial during the crisis and is now even bigger, with e-commerce growing by +64.6% over the first half. L’Oréal’s performance in mainland China was also decisive, with growth in the second quarter of +30%.”
In the second half of the year, L’Oréal says it is embarking on “an aggressive plan of new product launches and business drivers to stimulate, in partnership with its retail partners, the return of the consumption of beauty products.”
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