The cosmetics industry is playing an increasingly important role in the Italian economy. According to a study conducted by the Cosmetica Italia Association, sales are expected to reach € 11.5 billion this year, up 4.5% over last year.
Exports are up 8% and represent € 5 billion. In terms of jobs, 35,000 people work directly in the sector and, with intermediaries, their number rises to 200,000.
Overview with Renato Ancorotti, chairman, Cosmetica Italia.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois: During your induction as President of Cosmetica Italia you stated that you wanted to redefine the scope of certain sectors within the Association. What did you mean exactly and what are the first steps you took in that direction?
Renato Ancorotti: Broadening the associative base is one of the strategic objectives highlighted in the program I presented during my candidacy as chairman of the Association. We intend to recruit new companies in the areas already covered by our members, but what I have in mind is to push the limits of the current perimeter. In fact, the so-called "supply chain" includes many complementary activities which are nonetheless milestones in the process, such as, for example, companies involved in assembly and packaging operations. Therefore, I believe that if we want to best represent the entire cosmetics industry, we must redefine the associative base by including these types of companies. This would provide both an additional guarantee on the quality of products and an opportunity for them to improve their business by benefiting from the services offered by the Association. We started by doing a mapping of these industrial realities: Knowledge is a necessary preliminary phase before we tread this path.
Bourgeois: Can you please speak about the weight of the Italian cosmetics industry in the global industry today? (Number of companies? Total turnover? Number of employees? The share of exports, etc...). What was the trend over the past years and what are the prospects?
Ancorotti: The cosmetics industry is playing an increasingly important role in the Italian economy. There are about a thousand production units and, according to a study by Cosmetica Italia, the turnover for 2018 is estimated to nearly € 11.5 billion, i.e., an increase of 4.5% over 2017. Exports, with a growth forecast this year of 8%, and € 5 billion in sales, played a key role.
This has a considerable impact on the country’s balance of payments, which, in spite of growing imports, is close to € 2,700 million, an absolute record for the sector—we have even outranked pasta exports!
In addition to these figures, I would like to emphasize the weight of the sector in terms of employment. We employ 35,000 people, and if we include the entire supply chain, this number reaches 200,000 people.
Bourgeois: Your appointment shows that Cosmetica Italia wants to better take into account the influence of the Italian subcontracting industry. Do you agree with that?
Ancorotti: I intend to represent the interests of all members, regardless of the type of business I am involved in. What is certain is that subcontractors play a leading role in the Italian beauty industry, particularly concerning exports: Over 80% of their production is exported. It is precisely because of its strong propensity to export that this specialized industry is posting growth figures well above those of the global cosmetic market. With sales close to € 1,500 million, year on year growth for 2018 is estimated to 10%. According to a recent study, more than 65% of makeup used in Europe is produced by Italian companies. This confirms the excellence of "Made-in-Italy" in terms of quality of production and innovation capabilities. It is a "silent link" in the supply chain that needs to be valued.
Bourgeois: What are the main 2019 events in which your association will take part? What will be the highlights?
Ancorotti: We will of course actively participate in the leading and most important international cosmetic events—trade shows—and we will also be present at cultural events giving visibility to our Association. For our part, we will organize some events specifically dedicated to cosmetics; this month, for example, our team in charge of technical and regulatory affairs will organize an Information Day, and the conference we will be setting up in collaboration with EY, will address financial aspects in the cosmetic industry. Another much expected appointment occurs each year with the presentation of the "Beauty Report," our annual report on the value of cosmetics in Italy. The list would be too long to enumerate here, but I would like to highlight another interesting feature, namely the Road Show covering main Italian cities. This will help consolidate relationships between associates and recruit new ones.
The Road Show will start in Florence in November.
Bourgeois: Cosmetica Italia is of course an association fully dedicated to the Italian industry. How do you plan on collaborating with other associations in other countries?
Ancorotti: Cosmetica Italia is regularly in touch with Cosmetics Europe and the global network of associations operating actively in the beauty sector. In addition to our operations in Italy, we are also involved in trans-national activities where we share common objectives. To name a few: consumer protection and information, trade facilitation, evolution of the regulatory framework, promotion of research, work ethics, eco-friendliness... Finally, there are many areas where we must necessarily work together and join forces to have a global impact. To this end I intend to strengthen our communication with other trade associations.
Bourgeois: Communication is a vital element today. What is your insight on this and what are your priorities in this area?
Ancorotti: It's fundamental. The Association does not hesitate to meet the general public to inform and raise consumer awareness: We take part in TV shows and public events.
We actually promote the media coverage of our initiatives and we support our partners in their relations with the media. In addition, the Association is the trade's privileged interlocutor with the government, authorities and other stakeholders, be they other organizations, financial institutions, research centers, NGOs, etc. Communication is one of the mainstays enabling us to build a strong reputation for the Italian beauty sector (and-reputation) in our country and abroad; but it is also essential internally, between partners: We are first and foremost a network of companies, a place to exchange on good practices, training and information. It is only by acting on this double front that we will achieve the expected results. The excellence of Italian cosmetics is a fact. Now, it needs to be recognized internationally.