Cosmetic market in Cameroon and parts of Sub-Sahara Africa

The cosmetic market in Cameroon and rest of Sub-Sahara Africa has flourished considerably over the past decade. The Cameroonian cosmetic market alone is estimated to be around 150 billion FCFA. More and more people especially women are getting into the trend of using multiple cosmetics. This has been partly triggered by globalisation, the spread of international magazines, TV role models and intensive advertisement by multinational companies. This has led to changes in lifestyle, more people of both sexes are paying more attention to their grooming habits. With the absence of cosmetic surgery in Cameroon and Sub-Sahara Africa, millions of people mainly rely more on cosmetic products to perfect their looks.


Products range from skin care creams, lotions, powders, perfumes, lipsticks, nail polish, hair sprays, shampoo, coloured contact lenses, deodorants, hand sanitizers, bubble baths, bath salts etc. Brands like Avon, Mac, and Mary Kay are very popular amongst the cosmetics sold in Cameroon. Cosmetics are mostly sold in single or in sets (a complete set of cosmetics usually a body cream and compliments). There is and increasing use of skin lightening products. Most of these products are imported into Africa; top exporters to Africa are USA and France, though China and other countries in Asia, South America and Europe also have a considerable export volume.

Due to the flourishing nature of the cosmetic industry, the competition is getting more tensed as many countries in Sub-Sahara Africa have started producing cosmetic products locally to cater for a certain segment of the market

Customer base

Though, the majority of clients are females, products such as hand creams, deodorant, facial lotions and general skin treatment are gradually picking up in the male demographic. Most of the consumers of cosmetic products in Sub-Sahara Africa are considered to be aged between 18-45 and makes at least one purchase per month. Though they’re price sensitive, there is a market for middle class citizens that can afford branded products of world class standard. This segment of the population prefers cosmetic products with the label made in France or USA as these are considered to be genuine products with regard to those from other countries. The least favourite are those made in China, those are considered to be of the lowest grade, not withstanding they’ve a large customer base.

In general Customers go for products that reduce the effects of ageing on their bodies. They prefer these skin toning and lightening products which enhances the appearance of their skin and complexion.

Distribution Network

Most big international exporters rely on local distribution networks to sell their products in Sub-Sahara Africa. Distribution companies like UNIPAL are some of the main importers of cosmetic products in Cameroon and neighbouring countries. They sell wholesale to smaller distributors who in turn sell to cosmetic shops for retail. They are also individual entrepreneurs who import huge quantities of cosmetics in Africa and resale at retail prices in shops, online and supermarkets. You can find cosmetic products retailers in high end stores in the city as well as with the peddlers in the streets. Some distributors, have distribution vans that move from shop to shop and supply their products. These vans also sell directly to consumers. It’s a complex network, but it works.


Prices for cosmetics vary widely from seller to seller. You could get a body cream for about 5000 FRS ($10) in a small shop and still get that same lotion from a high end shop for double or triple that price. But the skin toning and lightening creams and lotions are most expensive. Also big brands like Mary Kay and MAC are more expensive than nameless brands or local brands. The locally made products and those from China are the cheapest. You could get a bottle of lotion for 1000 FCFA ($2). But the imported ones cost anywhere from 5000 FRS up to 100,000FCFA ($10 – $200) for a set.

Case study:

manufacturers of cosmetic product in Cameroon, Market share.

These are a few manufacturers of cosmetic products in Cameroon


Biopharma has 20% of the country’s cosmetic market. With a 30 billion Fcfa capital they are the nation’s largest cosmetic market. Cameroon s cosmetic market is estimated at 150billion cfa. Their products include child specific products, bath and shower gels, fragrances, oral care, power toothbrushes and hair care products. Biopharma has a democratic price range that targets both the middle class and lower income earners.

SIPCA Cameroun

Second to Biopharma in the local league, SIPCA cosmetics focus on hair care products. It operates as a subsidiary of PZ Cussons UK . It products includes perms and relaxers for all age groups.


Above are the main cosmetic manufacturers in Cameroon. But there are also a vast number of retailers of both local and international products. These retailers play a vital role in the cosmetic industry and their contribution in the supply chain cannot be underestimated.

They include:

  • Parfumerie Isaac
  • Parfumerie Gandour Cameroun
  • EPA well being shop Cam optical Beauty center
  • Socado international ltd
  • Classic Cameroon S.A
  • Glodiary Resources Sarl
  • Beauty Africa
  • Central Cosmetics Tradings
  • Chandrika Traders ltd
  • Dorris Fisher



A54 Marketing Group markets and promotes your products and services in Africa


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