Sales of cosmetics are enjoying continued success since the relaxation of health regulations and the return of social contact.
Lipstick and foundation sales, in particular, have risen by 20-50% since the recent relaxation of health measures, according to several reports.
Masks haven’t been compulsory outside healthcare institutions and public transit since 7 March, which has clearly impacted cosmetics sales.
“Lipstick and foundation have made a comeback. They recorded a 50% increase during the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year. And this is clearly accelerating since the lifting of the compulsory wearing of masks,” said Tanguy De Ripainsel, director of the 110 Di shops in Belgium and Luxembourg.
At the same time, many cosmetic stores note positive trends in sales. April (the new name of the 87 Belgian Planet Parfum shops) also noted the trend.
Meanwhile, the company’s manager for Belgium, Luxembourg and France, Cyril de Montesquieu, said, “Since the end of compulsory masks, lipstick and foundation sales have risen by 20%.”
Another major player in the sector, Ici Paris XL, said they also see “a nice positive trend in makeup sales” for the same reason, especially when it comes to products hidden or spoiled by wearing masks.
While the impact of the removal of the mask mandate is clear, the comeback of cosmetic sales was noticeable even beforehand, during the winter holidays in which Belgians were able to celebrate together in larger groups, which led to more wearing of makeup.
Outings with friends to restaurants, theatres, and nightclubs also accentuated the comeback of foundation and lipstick and less teleworking.
But while the cosmetics industry welcomes the increase in sales, the pandemic shifted beauty trends in ways that make it unlikely the sector will see a full recovery.
“During the two years of the health crisis, makeup suffered, with sales falling by 60 to 70% for certain references compared to the pre-covid period. And even if we see our figures take off again, we don’t think we’ll be able to recover those of 2018-2019,” said Cyril de Montesquieu.
Whereas, Economists say the e-commerce boom has come and gone, and that foreign operators – Dutch ones in particular – have taken over part of the Belgian market with their aggressive pricing. This trend, which existed before the pandemic, has only become more pronounced.