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Market Study Shows Preference for Performance Over Organic, Natural Claims

Posted: July 14, 2010

Consumers require more education about the effectiveness and product claims of organic and natural cosmetics to justify paying a premium price, according to findings in a recent U.S. study by market research firm Kairos Consumers. The Kairos study, which included store audits and focus groups, highlights consumers' general lack of knowledge about the ingredients in organic and natural cosmetics, even though these consumers may regularly purchase and are knowledgeable about organic food.

Cosmetics shoppers place a greater emphasis on product performance than the safety and wholesomeness that organic and natural skin care brands signify, according to the study. Because consumers seem to know and understand conventional cosmetic claims or be more familiar with the brand names, they tend to favor buying them over products labeled organic or natural.

Those consumers buying organic and natural cosmetics admit they don't know a great deal about what constitutes an organic or a natural product. When asked what they believe makes a natural or organic product appealing to them, cosmetics buyers said safety and the absence of certain "negative" ingredients.

"Cosmetic shoppers told us they believe cosmetics are deemed safe when they are free of ingredients they view as "bad," such as parabens, dyes and chemicals.They also place great importance on the brand's reputation in the organic or natural marketplace, making brand familiarity an important influencer of cosmetic decisions," explains Betsy Hoag, Kairos Consumers co-founder.

"Enormous opportunity exists for both manufacturers and retailers with established brands in organics or naturals, as consumers place great importance on familiar names. Smaller, lesser known brands can also succeed by educating organic shoppers about the effectiveness of organic and natural ingredients as many consumers in the study indicated a desire for this information," notes Hoag.