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Navigating the growing popularity of Mexico’s cosmetics industry

April 1, 2023
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The U.S. Department of Commerce calls the personal products sector a good prospect for exporters.

Mexico is one of the world’s top 10 markets for cosmetics and personal care products, and the No. 2 market for beauty products in Latin America, behind only Brazil.

It is both a large importer and exporter of the products, and the U.S. is its largest trading partner in the sector. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA), Mexico imported $1.4 billion worth of cosmetics and personal care products in 2022, and 35% of them were made in the U.S. Makeup and skin care products had the highest demand, followed by perfumes and body splashes, shaving products, hair care, and soaps.

Meanwhile, Mexico exported $2.2 billion worth of beauty products, and 55% of them went to the U.S. The main exports in this sector were deodorants, shaving products, hair care products, makeup and skin care, and oral hygiene products.

According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics, 40 perfume and cosmetics manufacturers are registered to operate in Mexico, and they employed more than 21,000 people as of 2021. Several large multinational corporations—such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and L’Oréal—have set up manufacturing and distribution plants in Mexico and have made it their Latin American distribution hub.

ITA identified the cosmetics sector as a “best prospect” industry sector for exporters. A 2020 report cites steady growth in sales over the previous 15 years, due in part to women’s increasing participation in the workforce, the popularity of beauty video blogs, and more interest from men in using beauty products.

According to CANIPEC, the organization representing the industry, the average Mexican consumer spends about $90 a year in cosmetics and personal care products. Skin care and hair care products each represent 20% of the market.

Sunscreens and products that include sunblock are expected to see rising demand in the coming years. Sales are also expected to keep growing for beauty products for men and for products made from natural, organic ingredients.

More than two-thirds (70%) of the sales of personal care products are made in retail stores such as supermarkets, department stores, pharmacies, and variety stores. Premium products are likely to be found at high-end department stores and variety stores. Independent vendors and online stores are also a growing source of beauty products.

Wisconsin companies in the cosmetics and personal products industry should check export regulations. Mexico does not require health permits, but it does require compliance with a labeling standard called NOM-141-SSA1/SCFI-2012.

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