Colombia’s beauty market continues to report solid growth and is beginning to attract more attention from foreign players. Beauty and personal care retail sales there were up by 7% in 2011 to $3.76 billion, according to Euromonitor. Colombian women have always been big buyers of beauty, but are said to have doubled their spend in the category over the past four years. John Jimenez, principal scientist, skincare, of Belstar, Belcorp’s Colombian subsidiary, explains: “There is an increase in purchasing power, which is resulting in more consumption, so consumers have new quality benchmarks for cosmetics.”

There’s also a strong attraction to cosmetics in the country, and middle and upper class consumers are happy to spend on beauty treatments, plastic surgery and Botox injections. “With beauty and fashion shows, modeling programs and social networking, we have a real cult of beauty here, and women in Colombia now spend more than in the past on make up, despite the dominance of less expensive brands,” explained local industry expert, Natalia Prada.

More brands are beginning to view Colombia as a strategic market in Latin America. The country has been earmarked as a priority for Brazilian direct sales group Natura, while at the end of last year, French group L’Oréal acquired Colombian make-up brand, Vogue. The brand reported sales of €30m in 2011 is said to be the mass-market leader in color cosmetics. L’Oréal plans to overhaul Vogue’s manufacturing center in Bogota to increase brand’s capacity.

In terms of industry leaders, it is still the direct sellers that command the greatest share. Belstar claimed 12.6% of the market in 2011, tied with U.S.-based direct seller, Avon. The two companies are followed by Colgate- Palmolive with a 9.6% share, and Unilever, which has 5.9% of the market, according to Euromonitor.

To read BW Confidential’s full report on the Colombian market go to: