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Part II: Natural Market Expected to Move from Niche to Norm

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The natural and organic beauty and personal care market is expected to grow by over $600 million annually, according to Ecovia Intelligence, and a number of companies are increasingly riding the wellness wave.

In the second part of this two-part series on the growth in the natural beauty market, Global Cosmetic Industry found a number of personal care and beauty players in the natural space are already benefiting from this growth in the marketplace, which is increasingly evolving from niche to mainstream.

The whole natural and organic cosmetic sector is growing following consumer demand

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"The whole natural and organic cosmetic sector is growing following consumer demand," said Francesca Morgante, label and communication manager at Natrue, an independent organization which promotes natural and organic products.

The organization developed the Natrue label, and works in partnership with independent certification bodies which perform certification activities for natural and organic products. Most recently, there are nearly 5,500 Natrue-certified products worldwide with more in the pipeline expected to be certified by the end of 2017. 

"One of the reasons of this high interest in getting a certification for natural and organic cosmetic products is due to the lack of regulatory definition," said Morgante. "Companies need a way to position themselves, and private standards offer this support." 

And in regards to the market, "there are opportunities for niche brands that were not available just some years ago and this is overall good," Morgante said.  

Natural Players Ride the Wellness Wave  

"As far as we’re concerned, the [natural] environment is exciting and growing," said Jane Iredale, founder and CEO of Jane Iredale mineral makeup and natural skin care. "Judging from the number of consumer inquiries we get, their interest in what’s in their products is growing exponentially." 

Judging from the number of consumer inquiries we get, their interest in what’s in their products is growing exponentially 

When Iredale founded the company back in 1994, she didn't expect the natural makeup category to surge to quite this scale. The global organic personal care market is expected to reach $25.11 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. 

"We started [the company] with one product, our Amazing Base," said Iredale. "Frankly, it never ceases to surprise me that we are where we are. We’ve always thought of ourselves as a wellness company and now the industry seems to be catching up to that. When we introduced nutritional supplements two years ago, specifically to improve the health of the skin, we were alone out there but look at what’s happening now." 

Over the next five years, Iredale sees the natural/organic market continuing to grow.

"We’re all getting better educated about ingredients that go in and on our bodies," Iredale added. "Our focus is to make sure that our brand stays as clean as we can make it and provide her [our customer] with the tools to look and feel her best. We’ve just introduced three new supplements to our line which are going to further strengthen the growing wellness aspect of our company. It’s always been of high interest to me and will continue to be." 

Natural Market Muses 

Launched in November 2016, Musely Marketplace curates a marketplace of natural and organic products for online shoppers and reviews each brand to ensure its quality. Since its inception, "we found no shortage of great products, and were able to grow to 2000+ products in just a few short months," said Musely CEO and founder Jack Jia. 

"We find that consumers are delighted by these unique, effective products with a mission, and they perfectly complement the new natural, healthy lifestyle movement," Jia added. 

"This movement is definitely not niche; it’s now mainstream. We see the trend continuing for the next 10 - 20 years ..."

If you ask Jia, the natural trend is here to stay. "This movement is definitely not niche; it’s now mainstream. We see the trend continuing for the next 10 - 20 years as millennials mature and have kids and income of their own, while entrepreneurs use state-of-art-technology like genome sequencing, big data analytics and AI simulations to find even better and more effective natural products to keep us young and beautiful," he said. 

Musely currently only serves the U.S. market, although it plans to expand in Europe and Asia.

"The growth is at the very beginning," he said. "New brands can break out thanks to our new digital and social culture. Using digital activation, mobile tutorials/tips and e-commerce distribution, new brands can access consumers directly at an amazing speed. It is 10-100x cheaper to discover new natural ingredients, formulate new products, contract manufacturers and market them now than it was 20 years ago." 

The Changing Natural Marketplace

Indeed, the marketplace has changed, with more accessible natural brands and labels cropping up. Elaine Becker, founder of Alighten Natural Skin Care, launched her company in February 2017.

We're starting to see more really beautiful, well-made and well-packaged natural brands become more accessible

"I think natural/organic skin care has had a loyal cult following for some time and now it is just starting to move more into the view of a larger audience," said Becker. "We're starting to see more really beautiful, well-made and well-packaged natural brands become more accessible." 

Becker is not alone in this assessment. PWC cited the natural products, the eco trend and how sustainable practice has become essential to the perception and identity of a brand. Also, Smithers Pira noted the importance for packaging to focus on unique benefits, such as natural ingredients and formulations, as well as transparency on the label. 

"I think many consumers like myself may have tried natural skin care years ago and may not have had a comfortable experience with it because they were expecting a similar sensory experience to the synthetic products that have been widely available," said Becker. "One of our main brand objectives is to offer products that are natural and healthy but also elegant in texture, scent, and packaging so they offer a high-end experience." 

Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they put on their skin and they are looking for a more elegant experience

Although the market continues to grow with both large and medium-small players, Becker said her company doesn't spend its energy trying to compete but rather focuses on doing what they love: creating healthy and beneficial products that feel special and effective to use. 

"I think one of the biggest challenges is bringing visibility to a small brand just starting out and just providing our customers the opportunity to try our products and feel the difference," said Becker.

Nevertheless, Becker explained that wellness and natural products are something that consumers and brands will continue to invest in. "I definitely see the current growth potential for natural skin care," Becker said.

"Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they put on their skin and they are looking for a more elegant experience. Just as they will invest in higher quality organic food, they are beginning to understand the need to invest in skin care made with higher quality natural ingredients. This is such a positive opportunity for so many reasons," she added.