Greek cosmetics exports rise, double overseas presence
Greece’s exports of cosmetics jumped 20% last year to more than €500 million − and double what they were a decade ago − reflecting the growing presence of Greek skincare and beauty product makers in international markets.
The rise in overseas sales of cosmetics tracks the broad-based gains in overall Greek exports, which reached a new high in 2021, further extending the country’s almost decade-long export boom. According to official data, Greek merchandise exports jumped 29.5% last year to a record amount of €39.9 billion.
But Greece’s rising cosmetics exports are also the culmination of a successful, years-long trend in the industry, which has increasingly reoriented production towards foreign markets, such as the high growth markets of East Asia. They also represent the industry’s increasing success in tapping a growing worldwide consumer trend towards natural products, one of the Greek beauty industry’s fastest growing sectors.
During the years of economic crisis, Greece’s roughly 120 cosmetics and beauty product makers witnessed a more than 40% decline in domestic sales to roughly €800 million in 2016. As a result, many turned to overseas markets, even as the domestic Greek market began a gradual recovery. According to the latest data by the Hellenic Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association, sales of cosmetics in the Greek domestic market last year reached approximately €1 billion.
From Cretan medicinal herbs known since antiquity, to mastic infused skin balms, Greece’s natural and organic product makers are penetrating overseas markets, amid rising consumer awareness of the need for healthier and more sustainable lifestyles.
Blessed with a highly varied geography, Greece is home to almost 6,000 plant species, of which 1,000 are endemic to the country. Greece has already spawned two internationally recognized natural cosmetics brands – Korres and Apivita – which were recently acquired by foreign investors.