Top Countries for Imports of Beauty & Skincare Cosmetics

Globally imported beauty and related skincare products were worth US$64 billion in 2020.

That dollar amount reflects a robust 50.6% increase from $42.5 billion in 2016. From 2019 to 2020, purchases of imported beauty and skincare goods increased by 2.3%.

The 5 top global markets for selling imported personal care cosmetics generate over half (53.6%) of total beauty and skincare goods imported worldwide in 2020. The strongest cashflows attracted by imported cosmetics came from: mainland China (27.1% of overall total), Hong Kong (11.3%), United States (7%), Singapore (4.5%) and Macao (3.7%).

Among these 5 key markets for appearance-improving products, year-over-year upswings in demand were posted by importers in Macao (up 171.9%), Hong Kong (up 44%) and mainland China (up 31%).

By comparing changes in consumer demand for imported cosmetics by buyer country showcased in this article, researchers can uncover the most compelling opportunities for selling cosmetics on international markets.

Cosmetics Are Consumer Speciality Products

Beauty and skincare products satisfy the criteria of a consumer good (also called an end product) that allows consumers to buy in its final form. In contrast, products like turbojets are usually purchased by companies or government entities rather than individuals.

Economists classify cosmetics as speciality products, a technical classification for goods that are not as easily accessible as shopping products purchased from local convenience stores or corner discount shops.

Cosmetics also defined as a speciality product because it is relatively durable. Unopened packages of makeup can last up to 3 years provided it is stored in a cool, dry place. Another speciality attribute is that purchasing cosmetics typically requires more time before the consumer makes a buying decision. Plus, as a commodity, beauty and skincare products are generally not bought as often as less expensive items such as food or beverages.

Beauty-related Goods by Product Type

There are 5 categories of imported cosmetics, ranked by dollar value in 2020. These categories exclude medicinal products.

  1. Beauty-related skincare goods (81.7% of the global cosmetics total)
  2. Eye makeup preparations (6.7%)
  3. Lipstick and other lip makeup preparations (6.3%)
  4. Powders for skincare, makeup and baby care (3.4%)
  5. Manicure or pedicure preparations (1.9%)

The lone increase among these cosmetics categories belongs to beauty-related skincare goods via an 8.7% improvement.

In descending order, the year-over-year decliners are lipstick (down -25.4%), eye makeup (down -19.2%), skincare, makeup and baby powders (down -17.2%), then manicure or pedicure preparations (down -11.2%).

China is the number 1 import market for buying beauty-related skincare goods, lip makeup preparations, and skincare, makeup and baby powders.

In contrast, the United States of America spends the most on imported eye makeup preparations and manicure or pedicure preparations.

Listed below are the 5 biggest import markets for:

Beauty-related skincare goods: mainland China (30.5% of global total), Hong Kong (12.8%), United States (5.8%), Singapore (4.6%) and Macao (3.7%).

Eye makeup: United States (17% of global total), France (7.4%), mainland China (6.9%), Germany (5.8%) and United Kingdom (5.3%).

Lip makeup: mainland China (20.8% of global total), United States (10.5%), Hong Kong (7.3%), Singapore (6.9%) and United Kingdom (4.2%).

Skincare, makeup and baby powders: (15% of global total), United States (9.3%), France (5.5%), Singapore (5.3%) and United Kingdom (4.7%).

Manicure or pedicure preparations: United States (10.4% of global total), Germany (10.3%), United Kingdom (8.1%), France (4.9%) and Canada (4.6%).

Searchable Table: Imported Cosmetics by Country

The sortable table below showcases marketing intelligence for the top 100 buyers of beauty and related skincare imports. Buyers are ranked in descending order starting with the greatest annual sales amount at the 4-digit Harmonized System (HS) code level. For beauty or makeup and skincare preparations including sunscreen, the HS code prefix is 3304.

Also shown is the percentage of the world’s total purchases of imported cosmetics in 2020, as well as the change in international sales from 2019 to 2020.

RankImporterUS$%Total2019-20
1China$17,335,751,00027.1%+31%
2Hong Kong$7,234,182,00011.3%+44%
3United States$4,488,306,0007%-12.3%
4Singapore$2,894,321,0004.5%-10%
5Macao$2,358,495,0003.7%+171.9%
6Germany$2,186,539,0003.4%-16%
7United Kingdom$2,007,047,0003.1%-15.8%
8France$1,700,858,0002.7%-14.7%
9Canada$1,408,225,0002.2%-15.4%
10Japan$1,388,820,0002.2%-9.2%
11Belgium$1,155,366,0001.8%-11.7%
12Poland$1,020,515,0001.6%+10%
13Russia$1,015,589,0001.6%-18.7%
14Netherlands$1,007,904,0001.6%-0.5%
15Italy$1,004,423,0001.6%-14.2%
16Spain$969,456,0001.5%-17.8%
17South Korea$883,261,0001.4%-14.8%
18Taiwan$851,244,0001.3%-15.5%
19Czech Republic$822,155,0001.3%+8.6%
20Australia$788,231,0001.2%-11.3%
21Thailand$615,330,0001%-45.2%
22Saudi Arabia$596,594,0000.9%-11.7%
23UAE$538,758,0000.8%-49%
24Switzerland$531,540,0000.8%+11.7%
25Mexico$479,306,0000.7%-22.3%
26Sweden$438,807,0000.7%+5.4%
27Austria$432,172,0000.7%-7.2%
28Malaysia$349,168,0000.5%-27.5%
29Denmark$322,238,0000.5%-6.1%
30Norway$301,231,0000.5%+8.3%
31Ireland$292,126,0000.5%-17.9%
32Indonesia$257,134,0000.4%-28.2%
33Turkey$255,681,0000.4%-19.1%
34Portugal$235,564,0000.4%-17.2%
35Hungary$230,789,0000.4%+1.3%
36Romania$230,596,0000.4%+2.8%
37Greece$213,928,0000.3%-9.6%
38Ukraine$211,412,0000.3%-7.4%
39Lithuania$195,553,0000.3%-9.5%
40New Zealand$194,539,0000.3%-9%
41Slovakia$178,809,0000.3%+0.2%
42Vietnam$175,625,0000.3%-1.9%
43Chile$174,963,0000.3%-10.6%
44Brazil$163,158,0000.3%-20.6%
45South Africa$154,696,0000.2%-29.2%
46Croatia$152,348,0000.2%-3%
47India$138,216,0000.2%-40.1%
48Finland$136,729,0000.2%+1.6%
49Philippines$129,942,0000.2%-28.3%
50Israel$124,327,0000.2%-7.2%
51Colombia$123,991,0000.2%-11.4%
52Qatar$117,569,0000.2%-25.1%
53Kazakhstan$112,283,0000.2%-2.7%
54Kuwait$109,848,0000.2%-59.9%
55Argentina$98,064,0000.2%-14.2%
56Peru$93,625,0000.1%-24.3%
57Slovenia$92,732,0000.1%-11.1%
58Morocco$87,477,0000.1%-17.6%
59Panama$85,261,0000.1%-12.5%
60Bulgaria$80,304,0000.1%-0.9%
61Belarus$77,811,0000.1%-13.6%
62Luxembourg$76,453,0000.1%-8.4%
63Iraq$70,739,0000.1%-37.8%
64Estonia$69,728,0000.1%-8.9%
65Ecuador$68,979,0000.1%-30.3%
66Latvia$68,659,0000.1%-6%
67Serbia$67,806,0000.1%+1.7%
68Algeria$59,082,0000.1%-29.5%
69Guatemala$54,563,0000.1%-18.2%
70Costa Rica$51,866,0000.1%-13.9%
71Jordan$48,922,0000.1%-2.3%
72Cyprus$42,657,0000.1%-20.4%
73Dominican Republic$41,214,0000.1%-27.8%
74Myanmar$40,439,0000.1%-39.7%
75Bosnia/Herzegovina$39,778,0000.1%-14%
76Egypt$36,890,0000.1%-43.6%
77Nigeria$36,806,0000.1%+265.1%
78Tunisia$33,620,0000.1%-23.1%
79Georgia$31,695,0000.05%+0.7%
80El Salvador$31,137,0000.05%-30.4%
81Laos$30,333,0000.05%+671.6%
82Namibia$29,327,0000.05%-17%
83Bangladesh$28,722,0000.04%-27.9%
84Botswana$27,754,0000.04%-0.9%
85Lebanon$26,293,0000.04%-58%
86Azerbaijan$26,254,0000.04%-0.11
87Andorra$24,133,0000.04%-14.5%
88Mongolia$23,902,0000.04%+20.2%
89Bolivia$23,748,0000.04%-23.9%
90Iceland$23,602,0000.04%+15.5%
91Libya$23,510,0000.04%-33.1%
92Nepal$22,067,0000.03%-44.4%
93Moldova$20,756,0000.03%-15.1%
94Armenia$20,279,0000.03%+18.9%
95Pakistan$19,425,0000.03%-16.1%
96Albania$18,939,0000.03%+38.5%
97Cambodia$18,366,0000.03%-48.3%
98Paraguay$18,013,0000.03%-30.4%
99Honduras$17,718,0000.03%-34.4%
100Oman$17,182,0000.03%-84.9%

Among the above 100 major markets, 20 countries increased their spending on imported beauty, makeup and skincare products from 2019 to 2020. The 6 strongest percentage gains year over year were posted by Laos (up 671.6%), Nigeria (up 265.1%), Macao (up 171.9%), Hong Kong (up 44%), Albania (up 38.5%) and mainland China (up 31%).

Decreasing at the greatest pace were cosmetics imported by Oman (down -84.9%), Kuwait (down -59.9%), Lebanon (down -58%), United Arab Emirates (down -49%), Cambodia (down -48.3%) and Thailand (down -45.2%).

The 100 top importers accounted for 99.2% of overall purchases for beauty, makeup and skincare goods in 2020.

Richest Global Markets for Imported Cosmetics

The data below summarizes market demand for beauty and skincare-related goods imported during 2020 by 30 of world’s richest countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per person, according to RichestCountryReports.com.

Countries are listed in descending order starting with the wealthiest economy in terms of GDP per capita.

  1. Luxembourg: US$76.5 million (Down -8.4%)
  2. Singapore: $2.9 billion (Down -10%)
  3. Ireland: $292.1 million (Down -17.9%)
  4. Qatar: $117.6 million (Down -25.1%)
  5. Macao: $2.4 billion (Up 171.9%)
  6. Switzerland: $531.5 million (Up 11.7%)
  7. Norway: $301.2 million (Up 8.3%)
  8. United States: $4.5 billion (Down -12.3%)
  9. Brunei Darussalam: $11 million (Up 61%)
  10. Hong Kong: $7.2 billion (Up 44%)
  11. Denmark: $322.2 million (Down -6.1%)
  12. Netherlands: $1 billion (Down -0.5%)
  13. United Arab Emirates: $538.8 million (Down -49%)
  14. Taiwan: $851.2 million (Down -15.5%)
  15. Iceland: $23.6 million (Up 15.5%)
  16. Austria: $432.2 million (Down -7.2%)
  17. Germany: $2.2 billion (Down -16%)
  18. Sweden: $438.8 million (Up 5.4%)
  19. Australia: $788.2 million (Down -11.3%)
  20. Belgium: $1.2 billion (Down -11.7%)
  21. Finland: $136.7 million (Up 1.6%)
  22. Canada: $1.4 billion (Down -15.4%)
  23. Bahrain: $14.7 million (Down -72.9%)
  24. France: $1.7 billion (Down -14.7%)
  25. Saudi Arabia: $596.6 million (Down -11.7%)
  26. United Kingdom: $2 billion (Down -15.8%)
  27. South Korea: $883.3 million (Down -14.8%)
  28. Malta: $13.3 million (Down -17.1%)
  29. Japan: $1.4 billion (Down -9.2%)
  30. New Zealand: $194.5 million (Down -9%)

Among the above richest economies, 8 spent more on imported cosmetics in 2020 compared to 2019. Top gainers were Macao (up 171.9%), Brunei Darussalam (up 61%), Hong Kong (up 44%), Iceland (up 15.5%), Switzerland (up 11.7%) and Norway (up 8.3%).

Registering the most dramatic double-digit annual declines were Bahrain (down -72.9%), United Arab Emirates (down -49%), Qatar (down -25.1%) and Ireland (down -17.9%).

China’s Top 10 Suppliers for Imported Cosmetics

In 2020, the People’s Republic of China served as the world’s strongest market for imported cosmetics as measured by total sales. Mainland China’s top 3 suppliers (Japan, France, South Korea) generated roughly two-thirds (66%) of Chinese imports of the appearance-improving products.

The following countries benefited the most from selling imported beauty, makeup and skincare products to mainland China in 2020.

  1. Japan: US$4.3 billion (24.8% of China’s total)
  2. France: $3.9 billion (22.5%)
  3. South Korea: $3.3 billion (18.8%)
  4. United States: $1.9 billion (10.7%)
  5. United Kingdom: $1.6 billion (9.1%)
  6. Belgium: $356.1 million (2.1%)
  7. Spain: $344.7 million (2%)
  8. Italy: $330.3 million (1.9%)
  9. Switzerland: $247.2 million (1.4%)
  10. Australia: $218.7 million (1.3%)

Among the above major suppliers of cosmetics, the fastest gainers in their sales to China from 2019 to 2020 were suppliers in the United Kingdom (up 113.7%), Belgium (up 52.8%), United States (up 48%), Japan (up 37%) and France (up 36.1%).

America’s Top 10 Suppliers for Imported Cosmetics

In 2020, the United States of America’s top 3 suppliers (France, Canada, South Korea) furnished 44.4% of American imports of cosmetics by value.

The following countries benefited the most from selling imported beauty, makeup and skincare products to the US in 2020.

  1. France: US$799.5 million (17.8% of US total)
  2. Canada: $640 million (14.3%)
  3. South Korea: $553.2 million (12.3%)
  4. China: $523.8 million (11.7%)
  5. Italy: $416.3 million (9.3%)
  6. United Kingdom: $261.2 million (5.8%)
  7. Mexico: $167.8 million (3.7%)
  8. Sweden: $158.8 million (3.5%)
  9. Japan: $150 million (3.3%)
  10. Germany: $147.7 million (3.3%)

Among the above major suppliers of cosmetics, 3 expanded their sales to America from 2019 to 2020 namely suppliers in Mexico (up 12.6%), South Korea (up 7%) and Sweden (up 4.2%).

New Jersey is the only American state for which beauty, makeup and skincare goods rank among its top 25 imported products. New Jersey imported $596.3 million worth of cosmetics in 2020, down -3.9% year over year.

World’s Biggest Cosmetics Companies

The following metrics reveal the largest players in the cosmetics industry.

Rankings were based on the overall revenues including domestic and international sales. Some of these conglomerates produce a myriad of other goods besides cosmetics.

  1. L’Oréal (Clichy, France)
  2. Unilever (London, United Kingdom)
  3. P&G (Cincinnati, USA)
  4. Estée Lauder (New York City, USA)
  5. Shiseido (Tokyo, Japan)
  6. Beiersdorf (Hamburg, Germany)
  7. LVMH (Paris, France)
  8. Kao (Tokyo, Japan)
  9. Coty (New York City, USA)
  10. Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, USA)

Shown within brackets is the city which serves as the global headquarters for each cosmetics provider.

See also

More great research: Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Gold, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Perfumes, Most Valuable Global Markets for Selling Silver Imports, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Jewelry, Best Global Consumer Markets for Selling Imported Flowers

References

Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.

BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.

Cosmetics Technology, Top ten cosmetics companies in the world

Forbes, The Forbes Global 2000 List.

Healthline, When Does Makeup Expire?

International Trade Centre, Trade Map.

Investopedia, Consumer Goods, Consumer Staples Definition, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG).

Richest Country Reports, Top 50 Richest Countries by GDP per Capita.

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade State Data.

USITC DataWeb, US Merchandise Trade: Imports for Consumption.

Wikipedia, Cosmetics.

World’s Top Exports, Beauty Cosmetics and Skincare Exports by Country.

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