The term ‘cosmetics industry’ usually refers to the ‘cosmetics, toiletry and perfumery’ industry. Cosmetic products perform six functions: they clean, perfume, protect, change the appearance, correct body odours and keep the body in good condition. Cosmetics, toiletries and perfumes have become an important part of every individual’s daily life and they have come to be regarded as equally important as health-related (pharmaceutical) products.
On the basis of product usage, the cosmetics industry can be divided into four segments: luxury, consumer or position as the leader (since 1980s) in the industry.
In 2000 the European cosmetics industry generated almost €50 billion in sales, which was twice the sales volume of the Japanese cosmetics industry and one-third more than that of the us cosmetics industry.
L’Oreal has remained the global leader in the industry with a 16. 8 percent market share, followed by Estee Lauder with a 10. per cent market share, and Procter&Gamble with a 9. 3% market share. Established in 1946 in New York, US, Estee Lauder competed with L’Oreal in the luxury segment with brands like Estee Lauder, Aramis, Clinique, Prescriptives, Origins, MAC, Bobbi Brown Essentials, Tommy Hilfiger, Jane, Donna Karan, Avenda, La Mer, Stila, and Jo Molone.
P&G, the US-based FMCG manufacturer, compete with L’Oreal in the mass-market segment with skincare, haircare and bodycare products.
Some of P&G’s well-known brands include Biactol, Camay, Cover Girl, Ellen Betrix, Infasil, Max Facter(skincare), Herbal Essences, Loving Care, Natural Instincts, Nice n’ Easy Pantene pro-V, Rejoice, Vidal Sasson, Wash&Go(haircare), Laura Biagiotti, Hugo Boss, and Helmut Lang(perfumes). The US-based Revlon inc also compared with L’Oreal in the mass-market segment with brands like Charlie, Colorsilk, Colorstay, Fire&Ice and Skinlights. Other companies like Avon, Kose, Coty and Shiseido competed globally in the mass-market segment.
L’Oreal remained the overall industry leader, as it was the only company that competed in all four segments. The cosmetics industry has always been characterised by extensive research and innovation by companies to introduce newer and better products. Since the 1990s the industry has witnessed many changes in terms of the manufacture of cosmetics owing to growing awareness among consumers about the harmful effects that harsh chemicals(generally used in osmetics)may cause to their body(skin and hair).
This was one of the reasons for the manufacture of products with natural or herbal ingredients by companies like L’Oreal and P&G. Due to the increased focus on ‘wellness,’ the industry as a whole is now moving towards ‘cosmecuticals’ and ‘neutraceutials, that is, products that combine that qualities of nutrients and beauty aids. Industry analysts speculate that the market for these products would rise sharply in the twenty-first centry.