Clarins Company’s Strategic Analysis

SWOT Analysis


  • Natural ingredients – attracting eco-oriented customers;
  • Online sales – wider market;
  • Sampling – customer loyalty;
  • Promotional products – customer loyalty;
  • Special propositions for existing customers – customer; loyalty;
  • Number 1 ranking in Europe as luxury skincare – company prestige.


  • Low ranking as a make-up brand – higher expenses on promotion;
  • Cases of products not in store – losing customers;
  • Low visibility in stores – lower sales;
  • South America market exclusion – narrow market.


  • Growth of responsible buying attitude – more customers;
  • Ecological legislation – brand visibility;
  • Solar influence prevention campaigns – sales of products with SPF;
  • Growing natural beauty trend – customer interest;
  • Rise of social issues awareness – brand visibility;
  • Growth of women’s employment and income – wider market;
  • Increasing amount of allergy cases in the world – customers’ interest in ecological cosmetics;
  • Expo 2020 – brand visibility;
  • Growing number of malls – promotion;
  • Growing income of people in Asia – wider market.


  • Financial crisis – lower sales;
  • Inflation – fewer revenues;
  • Affordable makeup trend – low makeup sales;
  • Growing costs of materials and production – fewer revenues;
  • Aggressive marketing of other brands – lower brand visibility;
  • Korean cosmetics introduction – higher competition;
  • War conflicts – market loss;
  • Local legislation and high import taxes – fewer revenues;
  • Market saturation – competition;
  • New skincare practices – customer loss.


The skincare and the make-up market is currently very saturated. Cosmetics producers have to possess unique qualities to stay visible. The French brand Clarins is one of the most successful businesses. Its main strengths lie in answering the demand for sustainable products. While the current economic situation in the world does not benefit luxury manufacturers, Clarins seems to benefit from such opportunities as market growth and the eco-oriented generation.

Company Overview

Clarins is a cosmetics brand that was founded in 1954 in France. Jacques Courtin-Clarins, the company’s creator, was a medical student. He used his knowledge about plants in cosmetology as the base for his product line. Nowadays, Clarins has offices and stores worldwide, and it is widely known as the sustainable manufacturer of green cosmetics.


The main strength of Clarins is its top luxury skincare reputation (Clarins, 2016). However, while some specialists believe that a luxury brand cannot make the prices affordable to everyone (Kapferer, 2015, p. 97), the company’s strategy of offering relatively cheap lines of everyday care products proves to be successful. Moreover, people are attracted not only by the business’s prestige but also by sustainability values. Natural ingredients collected with eco-friendly production compliance are the best promotion points. Besides, people tend to be suspicious about the artificial and chemical substances for skincare, so the focus on natural base helps to win their attention as well.

Clarins proves that online sales strategy can be applicable to luxury cosmetics. Firstly, the website offers a detailed description of each product, including lists of the core ingredients, the types of skin it is intended for, and even the videos of the proper application way. Secondly, website visitors can make their purchase in a comfortable surrounding when they are ready. Samples and free promotional products save customers’ money and give them an opportunity to test cosmetics. Finally, Clarins regularly makes special offers to its registered customers, which results in them buying cosmetics more often.


Although Clarins has a make-up line, it does not receive as much attention as the skincare line. In the luxury brand sector, the ranking is crucial, and the corporation’s make-up order is relatively low. It may seem as this product sphere is not principal for Clarins, so they do not spend as much on its promotion as they do on other divisions. For instance, the collaboration of the brand with other businesses where the so-called online native advertising is used often features various creams, while lipsticks and eyeshadows are almost never promoted.

Moreover, Clarins does not take proper care of its positions in stores. For instance, buyers often experience a situation when the product is out of stock. This may be disappointing, as a customer could specifically visit the store for this product. This situation may result in losing existing customers. Besides, the brand usually has an in-store positioning, which does not benefit it. People tend to come and look through a shop without a distinct idea of what they would like to purchase. If the shelves with cosmetics are situated at the far end, people most likely will not reach them. This issue prevents Clarins from attracting new customers.


The main opportunities lie in the scope of changing attitudes towards social and ecological problems. Ethical concerns about cosmetics usage are growing in the world (Pervin & Ranchlod, 2014), and the message of the sustainable collection of ingredients makes the brand appealing. Besides, Clarins supports various campaigns that are targeted at social support, and the current growth of human rights discussion may benefit the company by drawing attention to it.

Another opportunity may be seen in a growing concern of populations about health. People tend to pay more attention to natural ways of taking care of their skin. Moreover, there are talks about adverse ultraviolet activity, so most people nowadays try to buy cosmetics with high SPF filters. The sun protection line of Clarins has many options for all skin types and does not have many competitors in this field.

There is also a trend of the critical buyers becoming wealthier each year. First of all, these are women. As more and more females acquire positions with big salaries and develop their careers, their buying opportunities grow. The Asian economy is also increasing. Women in Asia pay most of their attention to the flawless skin, and Clarins may become their first choice.


While the Asian economy is experiencing good times, Clarins may not entirely rely on this market. Korean cosmetics brands have strong positions there, and they even seem to reach Europe and the USA in the last decade. Besides, the local governments, as well as other countries, may impose high import taxes.

Another problem lies in the unstable situation in the world—various war conflicts close markets in the countries where they take place. The ideology may also influence the buyers’ behavior. For instance, if France is engaged in a war conflict, people from the opposite side may turn away from French companies. Apart from this, the current economic situation in some countries faces a recession. Moreover, as inflation grows, the cost of production increases as well. Clarins will have to increase the cost of the final product and lose some customers, or keep the current prices and lose the revenues.

Finally, market saturation is another threat. More and more cosmetic brands start positioning themselves as eco-friendly. While they could offer lower prices, people may choose them and leave Clarins. Besides, the scientific progress may soon introduce other options for skincare, which may appear more sustainable and affordable.


Despite the recession and the high competition in the market, Clarins does not lose its positions. The brand maintains high visibility and an increasing number of customers. External factors such as the demand for sustainability and the potential customers’ growth present opportunities for the company.


Clarins. (2016). Ten reasons to trust Clarins. Web.

Kapferer, J. N. (2015). Luxury branding. In K. Kompella (Ed.), The brand challenge: Adapting branding to sectorial imperatives (pp. 97-118). London, UK: Kogan Page Limited.

Pervin, S., & Ranchlod, A. (2014). Ethical concerns in cosmetics retailing: A comparative study of consumer attitudes towards cosmetics purchase between Europe and Asia with particular reference to Bangladesh and the UK. World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 10(2-3), 230-246. Web.

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