Market Data

Exports of German cosmetic products pick up despite the pandemic

  • Strong foreign demand compensates for weakened domestic business of the beauty and home care industry
  • Total sales revenues increase slightly to EUR 28.1 billion
  • IKW: “This was the second completely abnormal year”


Because German cosmetic products were again increasingly sold over the store counters outside Germany, the German beauty and home care industry was able to record a slight rise in sales revenues in 2021 despite difficult market conditions. As a result of a significantly higher export demand, the industry increased its annual sales revenues by 1.1 percent in 2021 versus prior year to EUR 28.1 billion.


The export sales of beauty and home care products alone rose by 10.6 percent to EUR 9.4 billion. The main underlying reason is the significantly recovered consumption demand in countries such as France, Italy, the United Kingdom or also China. In many countries public life had temporarily normalized. Exports are, however, not yet back to the pre-crisis level. “We see a gradual recovery in foreign trade”, says IKW Managing Director Thomas Keiser. “We hope that there will be a normalization in 2022. We are confident that the coming year will be the first normal year again.”


Weaker sales revenues in Germany

In Germany, the pandemic left clear marks during the second year as well. "In 2021, everything was different again for our companies", says IKW Chairman Georg Held. “We are looking back on the second completely abnormal year.” The domestic business of the around 430 manufacturers organised within IKW declined by 3.0 percent versus 2020 to EUR 18.7 billion (2020: EUR 19.3 billion). The numbers represent a projection on the basis of the data from the first three quarters.

The long duration of the lockdown in Germany in winter and spring changed the consumption patterns once more. Decreases in sales revenues in beauty care occurred on an annual comparison basis for the domestic sales of decorative cosmetics (minus 7.2 percent), women’s fragrances (minus 5.6 percent) and hair care products (minus 2.4 percent).

On the other hand, people in Germany spent more on mouth and tooth care products (plus 1.6 percent), bathing and shower products (plus 2 percent) and foot care products (plus 2.7 percent). All these segments reported record sales revenues. “Whatever makes life at home comfortable, was in demand“, says IKW Managing Director Thomas Keiser.


A good year for fabric softeners and bath additive

In the field of home care, fabric softeners and room scents were among the winners of the year and went up by 5.5 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively. Sales revenues with bathing and shower products of EUR 912 million were larger than in any previous year. By contrast, detergents recorded lower sales, because many households used their stocks built up in 2020. The domestic market for heavy-duty, colour and general-purpose detergents shrank by 8.8 percent to EUR 1.2 billion. A particularly large “COVID-19 outlier” was the soaps/syndets segment. However, sales revenues fell by 20.6 percent in 2021 after they increased by 40.6 percent versus prior year in 2020. Apparently, many people in Germany still had stocks of these products from the previous year as well.


What has changed since 2019 – the last “normal year” before the beginning of the pandemic?

The comparison of the sales revenue volumes with 2019, the year before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, is insightful: Since then the domestic sales revenues with beauty care products dropped by 3.1 percent. “In the home office one needs perfume less often”, says IKW Chairman Georg Held, “and under a mouth-nose protection, many prefer to remain without make-up.” By contrast, soaps and syndets reported record sales revenues and a plus of 40.6 percent. And there was also a strong demand for “feel-good cosmetics” such as bath additives.

The domestic sales revenues with home care products rose by 6 percent versus 2019. Dishwashing products were even sold with a 17.1 percent higher overall value over the store counters compared to 2019, sales revenues with cleaning agents went up by 12.4 percent, fabric softeners recorded a plus of 7.5 percent.


Drugstores gain market share

The distribution channels for beauty and home care products likewise changed during the year that is ending. In particular drugstores gained market shares, whilst the specialist retail trade lost shares. Around 51 percent of the beauty care products were sold in drugstores in 2021 (plus 2.2 percent) and around 34 percent of the home care products (plus 1.3 percent).

On the other hand, the discount stores recorded strong losses in the two segments. In 2021 they accounted for comparatively lower market shares of only 9 percent (beauty care products) and 27 percent (home care products). The online trade grew on a low level.


The press release, you can find here, the market data sheet here and the graphic here.


About IKW

The German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association, with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, was founded in 1968. It represents the interests of more than 430 companies from the fields of beauty and home care on a national and European level. The industry generates sales revenues of more than EUR 18 billion and employs a workforce of approximately 50,000 people. The member companies cover approximately 95 % of the market.

IKW is the contact partner for its member companies, ministries, public authorities, consumers, institutions and associations as well as for the media as far as scientific, regulatory or business topics are concerned. Experts of the competence partners Beauty Care and Home Care within IKW provide competent answers on questions concerning skin and hair care, beauty and self-esteem as well as hygiene and cleaning. More information on



Karen Kumposcht

Public Relations/Public Affairs Manager

Industrieverband Körperpflege- und Waschmittel e. V.

The German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association

Mainzer Landstrasse 55, 60329 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

T +49.69.2556-1331 / F +49.69.237631 /


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About IKW

IKW supports, advises and represents its member companies and is the point of contact for ministries, authorities, consumers, other institutions and associations as well as for the media.

Our Members

The IKW represents more than 430 small, medium-sized and large companies in the beauty care and home care sectors.