Nowadays, the European market of essential oils is experiencing an increase in demand as aromatherapy products are gaining popularity. What is making Europe an interesting market for essential oils is the expanding cosmetics market.
There are two main reasons for this growth, and they revolve around the European customer’s preference of natural products and appreciation of their beneficial properties. The imports of essential oils increased by almost 68% in terms of value and by 22% in terms of volume, from 2011 to 2018.
Essential oils market demand
The essential oils market is divided into singles and blends. Based on their application, there are various segments in the market, including aromatherapy, cleaning & home, food & beverages, and pharmaceutical. While the highest in-demand single oils for aromatherapy are lavender, chamomile, bergamot, and peppermint, the most demanded blends are bergamot & lavender, and lemon & tea tree.
When it comes to health, the most demanded essential oils are peppermint for decongestion & prevention, rosemary for skin and hair health, tea tree oil for disinfectant purposes. For cleaning purposes, the most used essential oils are lemon, lavender, tea tree, and wild orange.
Lavender oil has high demands in the European market. It doesn’t come as a surprise since Bulgaria is the largest producer of the global lavender oil market. Of the total production of the global lavender oil market, nearly 60% can be traced to Europe.
Tea tree oil
Along with lavender, tea tree oil is witnessing significant market growth. Although it has one of the highest demands in the cosmetic industry, it is gaining higher traction from the pharmaceutical industry. After all, tea tree oil is renowned for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
Essential citrus oils have been gaining a lot of popularity in the last few years and have dominated the market in 2019. In 2022, it looks like citrus oils are already holding the largest value share of 36.5%. Citrus oil shares many of the benefits of lavender and tea tree oil which has increased its application. Apart from the shared benefits, this type of oil is used in the food & beverage industry as it is known to contribute to the increased overall shelf life of food.
Largest European essential oil importers
The versatility of essential oils has maximized their market potential by covering a broad variety of fields and industries in Europe. However, some fluctuations in demand and imports can be observed during the last two decades.
France is the main European importer of essential oils with a trade value in 2020 of more than $400 million. The country is renowned for its strong production, processing industry, and leading essential oils manufacturers. An important part of French imports is represented by peppermint, lemon, and other mints.
In terms of volume Germany is a leading importer, with the country reporting a 19% increase in essential oils imports between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, Germany was the main importer of essential oils of orange, peppermint, and other mints. Nowadays, it is also the country with the largest market for organic personal care and food products, which together with the growing aromatherapy demands are expected to keep Germany as a leading European importer in 2022.
The United Kingdom remains the second importer of essential oils by volume in 2021 and the lead importer of orange essential oil with almost $39 million imported in 2021.
The Netherlands is yet another significant European importer of essential oils. In 2021, the country was the second main importer of orange and other citrus oils and the second main European importer of lemon essential oil. In 2022, the food and beverage market is expected to record the largest essential oils market share which is expected to increase Netherlands imports.
Spanish imports in 2019 displayed the country as the leading resinoid importer by volume, but that position was handed over to the United Kingdom in 2020. Overall, Spain was the fourth European importer of essential oils by volume, and fifth by trade value, in 2021. An increase in essential oils imports has been observed, yet at the top of them were lemon and other mints. Portraying once more the importance of citrus oils in the aromatherapy field, cosmetics, and food & beverage industries.