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By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus

If one wants to know the price of beauty or maintaining a certain skin tone – it has a price according to the import statistics.

From December 2020 to the end of 2021, Namibian men and women have imported N$541 million worth of beauty, make-up and skincare products.

This is presented in the country trade statistics for December 2021, released by Namibia Statistics Agency, last week.

The agency revealed that monthly Namibians spend N$41,6 million on average every month importing their make-up and skincare products through their retailers and importing agents.

Observing through 2021, the country has been steadily keeping up with its make-ups and skin care products, as the demand for the products stayed above N$30 million monthly.

The steady performance in the beauty products imports made the industry part of those the pandemics did less to alter history as much as they accelerated it.

Despite the challenging environment born out of the unprecedented events of 2020, which accumulated into 2021, despite 2021, depressing economic activity, falling purchasing power and minimal travelling as people work from home.

Arising questions if the demand for make-ups and skincare has inelastic demand.

During December 2020, the country imported skincare products worth N$45,2 million, which decreased to around N$34,7 for January and February 2021.

After the first two months of decline in 2021, the import picked up and has been trending over N$35 million, reaching its largest import value of N$61,4 million in October 202.

Before, it decreased to N$52,7 million in November 2021, while for the last month of the year, the country imported N$38,5 million.

Around 89% of the country’s skincare products are mostly bought from South Africa.

Across the global beauty industry, nearly half a trillion US dollars was spent on beauty products in 2019, according to McKinsey’ State of Fashion report 2021.

The beauty sales in the first half of 2020 declined by 10 to 30%, the sector- encompassing colour cosmetics, fragrance, haircare, personal care and skin care.

However, according to McKinsey, the global beauty market is set to return and even surpass 2019 levels last year in and beyond.

Once again, it proves that it is more resilient than fashion, which is not expected to recover until 2022.

Like fashion, the beauty market that returns will reflect a changing landscape across regions, categories and channels.

Fragrance and colour cosmetics faced steep declines in 2020, but beauty demand overall remains strong as consumers turn to ‘self-care’.

As a result, the expected growth in beauty products will mostly come from ‘self-care’ products as consumers favour creams, masques, jade rollers and bath bombs.

Categories of skincare, haircare, and personal care face less disruption from new Covid-19 routines and lend themselves well to digital discovery and purchase globally.

McKinsey brands have been quick to embrace Gen-Z-favourite TikTok, where users often showcase videos of themselves doing ‘challenges’ in the form of a before and after video in make-up.

It has also been observed growth in the make-up category shift from lip products (the historic growth-driver of cosmetics in China) to eye make-up, which grew 159%.

Across the globe, eye make-up has emerged as a relatively bright spot, McKinsey insight revealed.

Consumers are also turning to personal and skincare products to address conditions related to Covid-19.

Whether that is to address dry hands, breakouts from mask-wearing (maskne), or puffy eyes from hours squinting at a computer screen while working remotely. Email:


Julia Heita

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