Despite still being part of the EU, which, in 2018, was worth EUR €78.6 billion at retail sales price, making it the largest cosmetics market in the world, the UK lost over £124 million in 2018, which is also reflected in the UK's trade in global markets.
The current uncertainty surrounding the timing of the UK's exit from the EU, as well as global trading challenges with regulatory requirements, is reflected in the overall trading picture for cosmetic and personal care products in 2018; with imports down by 0.8% from 2017 to £4,265.4 million in 2018 and exports down by 1.8% on 2017 to £3871.7 million in 2018.
However, exports outside of the EU were up 4.3% on 2017 at £1363 million with the US, United Arab Emirates and Switzerland in the UK's top 10 export markets. Imports from the US dropped in value but remained the UK's largest source of non-EU cosmetic products followed closely by China, with Switzerland just making the top 10. The UK's balance of trade with non-EU improved over 2017 by 50% with net imports at £80.3 million versus £160.7 million in 2017.
Overall, the EU remains the UK's most important trading region with exports of 64.8% of worldwide trade; the main EU markets being the Irish Republic, Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Poland. Imports from the EU made up 66.2% of worldwide trade; the main markets again showing as France, Germany, Poland, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands respectively.