PARIS (Reuters) - The selfie generation is driving French cosmetics giant L'Oreal's (OREP.PA) make-up sales, helping the segment remain the fastest growing in its beauty business.
Selfies, often shared on social networking sites such as Facebook, are popular around the world, particularly among young Asian women who have been buying more make-up, Nicolas Hieronimus, head of L'Oreal's luxury division, said on Friday.
"We live in a society in which people increasingly put themselves on stage, so these actors need make-up," Hieronimus said after the group's annual results presentation in Paris.
On a comparative basis, L'Oreal's make-up sales rose 10.9 percent in 2015, while skin care sales were up 2 percent and perfumes grew 6.2 percent.
Hieronimus said training videos on the Internet also helped stimulate make-up sales as they allowed young women to find out by themselves how to improve their looks and use make-up.
L'Oreal Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon said the group had foreseen that trend a few years ago, which prompted it to buy U.S. make-up brands Urban Decay and Nix and step up investments in digital communication.
"We are witnessing an amazing boom in make-up and we expect to do a very strong year again in make-up," Agon said.
He said Urban Decay sales had tripled since L'Oreal bought it in 2012 and they rose 30 percent last year alone.
Agon predicted the growth of the global beauty market would be around 3.5 percent this year after rising close to 4 percent in 2015.
L'Oreal on Thursday posted forecast-beating fourth-quarter sales, helped by solid demand in Japan and the United States, particularly for its luxury brands, sending its shares more than 2 percent higher.
Like-for-like sales at Body Shop, though, fell 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter and 0.9 percent overall last year.
Agon said L'Oreal had revamped the brand with a new look, a new focus on skin care and new stores but "it did not bear fruits so far so we are really expecting a better performance in 2016."
"We are really working hard to make this business accelerate," he said.
Of all of L'Oreal's brands, Body Shop, which made 967.2 million euros ($1.09 billion) in sales last year, has one of the biggest retail networks, with more than 3,000 stores.
Editing by Susan Thomas