THE NORDIC region’s beauty market has, like every other country, been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the stability of societies in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland has meant that their retail sectors have avoided some of the chaos linked to the health emergency that that has harmed other markets.

All five countries are also developed economies, whose consumers have money to keep their personal care product traders afloat.

According to Finland-based Global Research & Data Services, sales of personal care products in Norway’s 5.3 million people market last year (2019) were worth USD700 million, based on UN data. That was up from USD678 million in 2018, but down from USD744 million in 2017. Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, sales were projected to rise to USD713 million this year (2020), a projection that may now be in doubt. Splitting the Norway market by product type, according to the Finnish data service’s figures, the skincare and make-up segments combines were the largest seller in 2019 – at USD363 million sales in 2019; next to haircare USD154 million; and perfumes and toilet waters – USD61 million. These sales are high in per capita terms, reflecting Norway’s high resource-based wealth – with its gross national income (GNI) per head being USD80,610 in 2018, according to the World Bank.

Personal care product sales in Finland are lower according to Global Research & Data Services, with its data saying 2019 receipts in this Nordic country’s 5.5 million people market were USD393 million, up from USD370 million in 2018 and USD333 million in 2017 – projected to rise to USD414 million in 2020, albeit before Covid-19 struck. Finland is significantly less wealthy than Norway, with the World Bank’s 2018 GNI/capita figure being USD48,280. As for segment shares in 2019, Global Research & Data Services said skincare and make-up sales were USD915 million; next to haircare USD79 million; and perfumes and toilet waters – USD35 million.

Different market researchers often yield different assessments of beauty sales, and India-based market researcher Mordor Intelligence, for example is projecting USD2.93 billion’s worth of cosmetics and other beauty product sales in Sweden, although it is admittedly the most populous market in the Nordic region, with a population of just over 10 million people. Unsurprisingly for a wealthy country with USD55,490 GNI/capita in 2018 (World Bank statistics), Swedish beauty consumers, noted a Mordor report have “relatively high purchasing power” buying into a market with a “high penetration of almost all global brands, a lack of new markets, and an excessively strong and stringent regulatory framework which has led to constricted market growth.” There is an increased preference for vegan, organic and natural beauty products, combating the harmful effects of pollution, sun and dust, avoiding potentially toxic ingredients, combined with increased awareness about sustainability and socially responsible cosmetics, said Mordor.