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Analyzing the Cosmetics Industry in Canada

The cosmetics industry in Canada has grown by just 0.7% per year on average to an estimated $1.7 billion during the past five years to 2012. This poor performance echoed the economic crisis in 2008 and the decline in per capita disposable income in 2009. In this context, competition among cosmetic and beauty products manufacturers has risen sharply, resulting in lower profit margins. Industry participants also face external competition from imports. Imports satisfy 94.9% of the Canadian domestic demand for cosmetics and have risen from 89.2% over the past five years. Increased competition also resulted in increased market share concentration due to major players' ability to thrive in difficult operating environments.

Well-recognized brand names like those of Unilever and Procter & Gamble, the availability of non-discretionary products (e.g. shampoo and sunscreen) and strong bargaining power with upstream suppliers have allowed the industry's largest players to grow even as other manufacturers have suffered. As per capita disposable income is expected to continue rising slowly in Canada, there will be a stronger downstream demand from wholesalers and retailers resulting in the industry revenue to fare better over the next five years. Nevertheless, competition will remain a key feature, pushing operators out of the industry.

L'Oréal Canada Inc., Unilever and Procter and Gamble Inc. are the top players in the market currently. Although the consumption of cosmetics and skin care products has remained consistent in terms of value and volume, trends have caused a shift in demand from prestige to mass products. The retail down pricing trend occurring in the market now allows Canadian women the opportunity to acquire high end products at affordable prices. Mass brands promote salon-worthy products and brands that were once strictly sold in salons continue to creep into the market. Drug stores generate the majority of sales for this industry within Canada, experiencing a further augmentation in the year 2011. The industry has experienced the continuation of a retail distribution channel shift in retail sales toward pharmacy chains and therefore away from traditional department stores.

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