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Beauty is a business story

A transformative force

Beauty is more than just a desire: it is a transformative force that molds our lives. This universal aspiration transcends time, borders and cultures. Far more than appearance, it is a quest that shapes our identity individually and collectively. Beauty rituals are an integral part of individual self-care and play a role in social bonding.

This need for beauty is reflected in the strong socio-economic contribution of the beauty industry to societies worldwide. It has arisen, as a captivating realm where artistry intertwines with commerce. This dynamic sector flourishes as a significant engine of economic growth, supporting millions of jobs worldwide through its extensive and diverse value chain.


A source of collective resilience

In times of economic uncertainty, the quest for beauty reassures us and keeps us moving forwards. As a source of individual and collective resilience, beauty has become strategic and essential in developed countries because of its significant contribution to GDP and its industrial footprint.

A real soft power

The cosmetics industry has a positive impact on society. It creates jobs, fosters social harmony and is a source of innovation and public health solutions. Thanks to its continuous growth, the beauty industry is a stronghold against deindustrialization in Europe and the United States. By exporting their beauty products, Europe and France also spread their art de vivre and values. As a major driver of soft power for France and Europe, the cosmetics industry helps to preserve savoir-faire and give rise to new technologies. Beauty promotes social progress and economic prosperity.

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France: a creative energy

Renowned as the cradle of beauty innovation, France vibrates with creative energy and groundbreaking ideas at the epicenter of beauty, with L'Oréal leading the way as a visionary trailblazer. Learn more about the socio-economic impact of the beauty industry and how it creates value at each stage of its lifecycle, from research and development to marketing and retailing, crafting an ecosystem where beauty, business and culture elegantly converge.

A strong socio-economic model

With a +8% growth in 2023, the global beauty market is extremely dynamic. It is a key driver of socio-economic development, employing millions of workers worldwide, including over 3 million in the European Union.

The industry empowers women, with a majority of women (61.2%) and a significant scientific workforce (over 30,000 scientists).

In the United States, in 2022, the personal care products industry was responsible for 4.6 million direct and indirect jobs, $203.3 billion in labor income, $308.7 billion in gross domestic product (GDP), and $82.3 billion in tax payments at the federal, state and local levels.

Europe: major exporter of cosmetics

Europe is recognized as a world leader in the beauty industry, both as a flagship market and a major exporter of cosmetics around the world. The sector is exceptionally innovative and provides significant employment in Europe.

The EU-27 market for cosmetic products was worth €74.1 billion at retail sales prices in 2022, the equivalent of over €200 million a day. At that scale, the EU-27 cosmetics market ranked second only to the US (€97 billion); and ahead of China (€71 billion), despite the EU-27 countries having roughly one third of the population of China.

L’Oréal Groupe, the global leader of the industry

L’Oréal is the worldwide leader in beauty, present in more than 150 countries, with over 94,000 employees including 4,194 researchers and 5,900 Tech & Digital experts. The Group has 37 factories worldwide, and generates €41.18 billion in net sales, with €8.14 billion in operating profit.

L’Oréal is also the 4th largest advertiser worldwide, across all industries. Innovation plays a key role in sustaining the industry’s impact in the long-term, while at the same time, enhancing formulations to answer societal and environmental needs.

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Powered by innovation

Innovation is at the heart of L'Oréal's success, with over €1,288 billion invested in 2023 in research and development, amounting to 3% of sales. These investments set the direction for the whole industry and benefit other companies as well. Innovation plays also a key role in sustaining the industry’s impact in the long-term, while at the same time, enhancing formulations to answer societal and environmental needs.

Europe Champions 

In Europe, three beauty companies are among the top 10 European companies ranked by market cap, including L'Oréal. These European champions manufacture most of their products and make most of their investments in the European Union. As the cradle of the cosmetics industry, Europe is home to more than 100 major companies which manufacture cosmetics, 7,000 SMEs, 23,000 companies that sell beauty products and 46,400 specialist beauty retailers.


of global growth in 2023 in Europe 


people employed in the European Union by the industry


of people employed in the European Union are women 

lipstick effect


Lipstick: the dopamine effect

In beauty circles, the Lipstick Effect, also called the Lipstick Index, is claimed to be the category’s leading economic indicator. It says that in times of recession and other economic stresses, women will indulge in discretionary purchases that provide an emotional uplift without breaking the budget. Lipstick fits the bill.

Covid disrupted the makeup world. When we emerged from lockdown, lipstick sales boomed. Why is there such an appetite for color? If lipstick is sometimes seen as a sign of resilience, and the fighting spirits of women, globally, beauty is a fantastic balm when times are tough. At L'Oréal, we call it the “dopamine effect”. It makes people feel good about themselves. It's a little affordable treat that allows people some time to escape from the bad news that they hear every day on TV. With the return of high-shine finishes, we have reconnected with makeup’s ritual purpose and its fun, creative aspect.

The joy we experience playing with color says much about our desire to forget the gloom of the pandemic, forget the gray humdrum and add a touch of magic to our lives.

Beauty industry: a value chain that creates growth

The beauty industry consists of multinational organizations, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and family businesses, with a value chain that includes primary producers, packaging, marketing, and distribution professionals. This diverse sector fuels growth and wealth creation for participants of all sizes, from farmers and flower-growers to futuristic factories. Local specialists such as stylists, beauticians, and salon owners play a crucial role in bringing beauty products to customers. L'Oréal, as a leading player in the industry, holds a pivotal position in this dynamic landscape.

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France: a cradle of the beauty industry

France is the leading global exporter of beauty products, including perfume, makeup, and facial care products. In 2023, its exports reached €21.3 billion, with 60% of French cosmetics being exported. The industry became the second-largest contributor to the French foreign trade balance, right after aeronautics. Tourists annually spend €3 billion in France on cosmetics products. The cosmetics and fragrance industries are major employers, providing nearly 300,000 jobs in 2022. Manufacturing accounts for 54,000 of these jobs, with 80% being regionally based.


France is the top exporter of beauty products in the world 

€21 Bn

French cosmetics exports in 2023 


Most important contributor to the French foreign trade balance 

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L’Oréal France

With over 15,000 employees in France, L'Oréal is the biggest employer in the beauty industry. L'Oréal demonstrates significant cascading effects on employment: one employee hired by L'Oréal France generates 5.2 jobs in the wider French economy, resulting in nearly 100,000 jobs in France alone.

Our local roots are real. For example:

  • 26% of our Group's worldwide production is carried out in our 11 plants in France.
  • We invest 70% of our global R&I budget in France, with 7 research centers across the country.
  • 98.8% of products sold by L'Oréal in France produced in France and Europe.
  • There are over 50,000 points of sale in France for our brands. 


in market capitalization 


One L’Oréal job generates 5.2 other jobs in the french economy


largest advertiser in the world

Discover The Essentiality of beauty

Many people think beauty is superficial, but in doing so they are not looking deeply enough. Beauty has been an essential human need from time immemorial.

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