Region's cosmetics markets differ dramatically.

In Libya, according to the January 30, 2006 North African Journal (Concord, MA USA), in spite of low wages the "market for cosmetics, hygiene products and perfume is growing." The Journal said that the principal reason for this recent growth was "the removal of price controls." The publication also gave credit to the introduction of "simple market mechanisms."

Not surprisingly, demand is limited. "The products that are most in demand," says the Journal, "are mainstream products such as deodorants, shampoo, hygiene products for daily use such as soap, cleaning items, and other beauty products."

Libya does have a luxury cosmetics market because there is a consumer segment made up of professionals and skilled workers who are employed in Libya's large oil industry. This is a niche market, however, and sales are marginal.

Libya recently privatized the broad cosmetics, soaps, detergents market segments. Previously the state-owned Public Company for Soap and Detergents (PCSD) distributed products through a state-owned network of cooperatives.

Privatizing stimulated the market, but restrictions in the form of taxes discourage imports. Only the wealthiest of consumers can afford high-end cosmetics.

Elsewhere in the region, in the Gulf States, for example, much higher per capita incomes translate into cosmetics sales. One 2006 estimate of per capita sales of fragrances and cosmetics in...

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