French cosmetics giant L’Oréal Group announced record sales growth in 2021, on the back of strong growth in North Asia and a recovery in China.
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The Clichy-based company saw annual like-for-like sales lift 16.1 percent to a record 32.28 billion euros (US$ 36.7 billion) in 2021, compared to 2020, registering an 11.3 percent increase on 2019. Earnings per share for the year came in at 8.82 euros (US$ 10.02), representing a 20 percent profit uptick compared to 2020.
L’Oréal said it made market share gains in all zones, divisions and categories.
By region, North Asia sales totalled 9.8 billion euros (US$ 11.1 billion) in 2021, registering a 17.6 percent like-for-like increase, or 18.6 percent reported sales, making the region L’Oréal’s second largest behind Europe. For the fourth-quarter, North Asia sales totalled 3.6 billion euros (US$ 4.09 billion), or an increase of 7.3 percent like-for-like and 12.9 percent recorded, respectively.
In mainland China, L’Oréal reported strong double-digit growth in 2021, twice that of the beauty market, thanks to a strong fourth quarter where the Chinese market achieved like-for-like growth of more than 50 percent compared with 2019.
Travel retail in Asia also continued to grow well thanks to its booming business in Hainan, while maintaining the appeal of group brands.
By category, L’Oreal Luxe registered the most sales in 2021, reaching 12.3 billion euros (US$ 14.0 billion) for the year, up 20.9 percent like-for-like on 2020. Consumer Products, L’Oréal’s second largest business segment inched forward 5.6 percent for a total of 12.2 billion euros (US$ 13.9 billion), followed by Active Cosmetics and Professional Products, totalling 3.9 billion euros (US$ 4.43 billion) and 3.8 billion euros (US$ 4.31 billion), respectively.
By channel, e-commerce grew by 25.7 percent in 2021, accounting for 28.9 percent of sales.
“Thanks to the expertise, passion and commitment of our 85,400 L’Oréalians around the world, the group achieved record growth of 16.1 percent, twice that of the worldwide beauty market,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, Chief Executive Officer of L’Oréal.
“In terms of zones, North America made a strong comeback and joined North Asia as the primary growth contributor. L’Oréal Luxe became the group’s largest division, with remarkable success in fragrances, while the consumer products division, the largest division by volume, strengthened its position, with noteworthy performance in makeup,” added Hieronimus.
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The company also saw a record operating profit at 6.16 billion euros (US$ 6.99 billion), representing 19.1 percent of total sales for the twelve months ending December 31, 2021.