Global Cases

Believing in the power of cosmetics to create a more beautiful world

U.S.A. / Brazil / Korea / Germany / France / Italy

Sumitomo Corporation develops the cosmetics business extensively deploying diverse functions, including cosmetic ingredients distributing arms located in North America, South America and Europe as well as Summit Cosmetics , the Group’s core company leading its cosmetics business in Japan. Recently, we have expanded the business to include ingredient development and ODM. This story details our endeavors for using the “power of beauty” to help drive the “Improvement of living standard.”

Sumitomo Corporation’s role in the ever-changing cosmetics market

What are the key points that our customers look for when they choose cosmetics products such as lipstick, foundation makeup and skin care products? In Japan, the beauty industry and social issues were not seen as having a connection, but with the spread of the clean beauty (*1) concept that was born in the West around 2020, we are seeing a growing number of cosmetics being produced sustainably and cleanly. Vegan, organic, natural, sustainable, clean—the needs associated with cosmetics continue to diversify.

The key to addressing these diversifying needs is to develop blends and formulations of cosmetic ingredients that determine their color, application comfort, effects and efficacy. In recent years, cosmetics manufacturers have been focusing on advertising and marketing to increase the value of their brands. And distributors who have been supplying ingredients to cosmetics manufacturers are now partially taking on the task of developing blends and formulations of ingredients.

Since the early 1990s, Sumitomo Corporation Group has been engaged in the cosmetics market through the sale of ingredients, and now it has taken the recent shift in the industry as an opportunity and seeks to provide even higher added value as well as create new value. The global cosmetics market is worth about 58 trillion yen. Going forward, the market is expected to grow at a consistent rate of 6–7% per year (*2). Actively pursuing all possibilities as a partner to people around the world who seek beauty and health, Sumitomo Corporation will contribute to establishing a foundation for comfortable and enriching lifestyles.

  1. Clean beauty: Cosmetics of natural origin that are friendly to the environment and the human body
  2. Information published by Euromonitor in 2021
Distributors are now capable of developing formulations to meet diversifying cosmetics needs

As a distributor that develops cosmetics formulations, we focus on engaging in global sales and the development of ingredients worldwide.

Since taking part in an investment in Presperse of the United States in 2007, Sumitomo Corporation Group has been expanding its cosmetics materials sales business globally. We have invested in Biogenics in Korea, Summit Cosmetics Latin America Especialidades Cosmeticas (company name changed in January 2024, formerly Cosmotec), and Summit Cosmetics Europe (hereinafter “SCE”, company name changed in April 2023, formerly SACI), in France, and have conducted business acquisitions in Germany. In 2019, Summit Cosmetics was established as a wholly owned subsidiary in a company split with Summit Pharmaceuticals International Corporation. To enable ourselves to respond quickly to changing market needs, we reorganized the structure of all our cosmetics materials sales companies and set Summit Cosmetics as the global headquarters. We will contribute to the evolution of the global supply chain by quickly providing and making proposals on a global scale using the kind of comprehensive, highly accurate information and market perspectives that has previously only been available locally.

SCE, headquartered in France, the epicenter of information in the cosmetics market

The current market environment surrounding the cosmetics industry is continuing to change at an accelerating pace in countries, regions, and product segments. Amidst these changes, Sumitomo Corporation Group is a global and local partner to cosmetics manufacturers and cosmetic ingredient manufacturers around the world. We provide value to our customers through our abilities to respond quickly to changes in customer needs, to source new raw materials, to localize when planning business development, to provide our insight into trends, and to propose distinctive formulas.

The head office of Presperse, one of the major cosmetics distributors in the US
Countries where our global companies are based
*Click on image to enlarge
History of global expansion of Sumitomo Corporation Group's cosmetic ingredient business
*Click on image to enlarge

Entering the cosmetics ODM business to spur innovation in the Japanese market with our exceptional ability to create new propositions

Sumitomo Corporation is also engaged in the cosmetics ODM (*3) business. In today's cosmetics industry, cosmetics manufacturers are increasingly leaning towards outsourcing, not only the development of formulations, but actual cosmetics production as well. Amid these shifts, ODM companies who manufacture products by contract, or design and/or propose products based on their own marketing research in addition to offering manufacturing services by contract, have come to command an extremely significant presence.

Aiming to get involved in product development with domestic brand manufacturers, in 2018 we entered a partnership with Italian company Intercos—one of the top cosmetics ODM companies in the world—to make a full-fledged entry into the cosmetics ODM business. Through sharing global trends and product proposals, we will contribute to the global development of J-Beauty (*4) and the restoration of Global Beauty (*5) in Japan, thereby bringing beauty to people around the world.

  1. ODM: Original Design Manufacturing. It involves contracting from design to manufacturing for the products of the outsourcing company's brand.
  2. J-Beauty refers to cosmetics or trends that originate from Japan or have a concept based on Japan.
  3. Global Beauty refers to cosmetics originating from overseas, or trends coming from overseas.
A cosmetics exhibition held jointly with Intercos in Japan

April 2024


  • East Asia
  • The Americas
  • Europe
  • Chemical Electronics

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