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Beyond the Moon

By: Donna Barson
Posted: August 26, 2008, from the September 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

You know, it used to be enough to just have a wonderful product. All you needed to do was put it on the marketplace and wait for the money to roll in. As long as it performed as promised, consumers would buy it, no questions asked.

But that was then and this is now. Today, consumers are savvy shoppers with choices galore. Like a kid sitting on Santa’s lap, consumers enter the marketplace with a long list of “must haves.” There are so many enticing choices available, consumers can simply switch to another product if one does not meet their criteria. More often, that criteria now includes “social consciousness” issues, such as alternatives to animal testing and the inclusion of natural ingredients.

This is becoming very true in the beauty marketplace, and marketers cannot ignore the social consciousness of consumers. It is no longer enough for a product to promise the moon and deliver it—the consumer’s social consciousness must also be assuaged while using it. In other words, the consumer must be made to feel good.

Consider this in the context of the trend toward organic and natural food. The extraordinary growth of the retailers Whole Foods and Wild Oats is but the tip of the iceberg in this avalanche of interest in organic products. Almost every food product brand currently lining store shelves is scrambling to introduce less processed, all natural versions. The leap from natural foods to natural beauty products isn’t a big one. Why would consumers demand natural food and then cover their skin with non-natural ingredients? An example of a response to this trend is the Be.Fine line of skin care products found at CVS and marketed as food for the skin.

According to a recent study by TNS/Media Intelligence/CMR, the natural and organic skin care, hair care and cosmetics market is growing by nearly 10% annually. In 2003, the market was approximately $3.9 billion. By 2008, it is anticipated to hit $5.8 billion. Another report adding fuel to the organic beauty fire, the 2007 Health and Wellness Trends report from Natural Marketing Institute, reveals that consumers are quite willing to pay as much as 20% more for organic personal care products. Furthermore, the group’s Evolution of Personal Care Database reveals that 59% of the women surveyed said that having a product with 100% natural ingredients is somewhat to very important to them when purchasing personal care items. In addition, the Organic Trade Association recorded an 11% rise in the growth of organic personal care products in 2006; organic hair care rose 17%.