Skin care sales slipped into decline in real value terms in 2020, as Coronavirus (COVID-19) negatively impacted the performances in most countries in the Middle East and Africa region. Even in Saudi Arabia, where value sales rose, this was mainly down to the VAT hike, with volumes declining in 2020. Skin care is expected to return to positive growth in the region from 2021, with annual sales increases rising slightly as the forecast period progresses.
Most countries in the region were seeing rising skin care sales in the pre-2020 historic period, with Morocco and South Africa among the countries adding most new sales. However, Nigeria was recording falling sales throughout this period due to the struggling economy in this country.
In 2020, many other countries in the region joined Nigeria in registering negative growth rates, although this was against the backdrop of the pandemic and the economic impact of the measures taken to try and contain the spread of the virus. While hand care sales benefited from the additional washing and sanitising of hands during the pandemic, this is only a relatively small part of skin care, with the biggest category, facial care, in decline in 2020.
E-commerce was already recording steady year-on-year growth prior to the pandemic, but lockdowns, non-essential retail closures and the fear of contagion saw internet retailing enjoy a mini-boom in the region in 2020. This was particularly pronounced in Saudi Arabia, where the e-commerce share of retail sales increased from 1% in 2019 to 26% in 2020, also helped by players making major investments in their e-commerce operations as well as a young and increasingly internet-savvy consumer base.
Middle East and Africa will see healthy year-on-year sales increases in 2020-2025, driven by a hoped-for return to normality as the forecast period progresses and consumers becoming increasingly interested in trends such as dermocosmetics and products made using natural ingredients. However, mass products will continue to make up the vast majority of regional sales, given the low-income status of many consumers in a number of countries.
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