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• The Polish cosmetic market reached the value of 3.3 billion Euros in 2011 and became the 6th biggest market in Europe. The current position of the Polish market undoubtedly results from tens of years of experience in the production of cosmetics and dispersed, as well as highly competitive supply chain structure.
• The appearance of international cosmetic concerns in Poland increased the competitiveness of the market and products quality. Local manufacturers, in order to survive, have got engaged in a difficult competition game among themselves but mainly with big concerns. They have been made to improve the quality of their production, invest in new technologies, research and development departments and staff trainings. As a result of all those activities, the current position of local manufacturers in Poland is strong despite fierce competition of world brands. This is a unique phenomenon in Europe. It is enough to mention that 50% of all body and face care products in Poland are … Polish brands.
•There are approximately 100 big and medium-sized, as well as over 300 small and micro producers in this market. There are also hundreds of laboratories, research centres, chemical and biotechnological companies and manufacturers of packaging materials. That is way Polish companies are capable of delivering a complete production process at home, from the design, research, testing, the production, the packaging, till the final product.
• Around 19 000 people are employed in the Polish cosmetic industry. This group of people is very diversified and includes experienced employees, as well as young scientists who got their knowledge in various sciences in the whole world. Years of experience in the production of cosmetics gets the support from the well-developed scientific and educational centres. Poland is the only European country, alongside with Lithuania, where cosmetology is taught at universities. Cosmetology and cosmetic chemistry can be studied in 54 scientific centres, including 9 national universities. There are also related studies available from several dozen colleges. These include: chemistry, biochemistry and biotechnology (available at 24 colleges) and pharmacy (11 colleges).
• There are many independent research laboratories in Poland. They constitute a well-developed network of centres carrying out microbiological, physical, chemical, dermatological and other specialist studies, needed in the cosmetic industry. According to the data by the Chief Statistical Office (GUS), the Polish research and development sector employs almost 82 000 People. It is still ten times less than in Japan, over six times less than in Germany, yet much more than in other countries of our region, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Hungary, to mention just a few.
• The fragmentation of the Polish cosmetic market affects its flexibility. Small and medium-sized producers can easily adjust to requirements of the changing market. Their production lines are short, therefore the production process can be promptly changed. The time when Polish products could compete with foreign products only in terms of a lower price are definitely over. Nowadays, in order to be able to efficiently compete with cosmetic concerns, producers invest in modern production lines and research and development programmes and their products become innovative. Each of the big Polish cosmetic companies has its own research laboratory and spends much money on R&D studies. Not only do the products become better, so are the packaging and marketing communication with a customer.
•The labour costs in Poland are still among the lowest in Europe. Following the data by Eurostat, one working hour in Poland costs 7.1 Euros on average, which is three times less than the European average of 23.1 Euros. The labour costs in Poland are lower not only compared to Western Europe but also lower than in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
• Poland is situated in the centre of Europe and as such constitutes a geographical and cultural bridge between markets of Western Europe and of Central and Eastern Europe. Our location generates measurable advantages for Polish cosmetic producers who are very agile in adjusting to new market situation and various consumer needs. Poland’s central location positively affects supply chains, too. It provides a better access both to customers but also to ingredients needed for the production of cosmetics. Only few ingredients originate from Poland. The majority of ingredients come from European factories of international chemical concerns. Geographical benefits of Poland have caught the attention of global producers who build their plants here or take over existing local factories.
• With the Polish accession to the European Union the Polish cosmetic industry has got an easier access to community markets, traditionally important for the exports of our cosmetics. Our manufacturers have not wasted this opportunity. European Union membership is not only about freedom of cross-border traffic. It is also about single legal environment for all entrepreneurs and a single notification system. The European Union membership gives access to EU funds which help to transform cosmetic companies into innovative entities of the future. Many big and small manufacturers have used subsidies in the framework of the Innovative Economy Programme. Over 10 billion Euros have been spent this way, 85% of which have come from the European Regional Fund. The funds have helped the development of innovation and a Polish standard that is no longer different from any standards elsewhere. In the case of the biggest Polish companies investment in innovation is a daily business and represents around 20% of the total company expenditure. The money is spent on modern means of manufacturing and packaging but also on more efficient technological processes, quality management standards development and new methods of employees’ development. For the majority of manufacturers development teams usually mean long-term investment. Even though, however, the teams generate costs today, they will soon prove to be the driving force of the cosmetic industry development and its profitability growth force. Very often even 25% of all company employees get engaged in the R&D activities of the company.
• The Polish cosmetics exports developed long before the economic transformation of 1989. At that time Polish products could reach Arab countries and some Eastern markets. At present Poland is the 6th biggest exporter of cosmetics in Europe in terms of the value. In 2011 the exports value exceeded 1.9 billion Euros. Cosmetic products produced in Poland are sent to over 130 countries of the world, including distant locations, such as New Zealand, Chile, Trinidad and Tobago.