According to Kline & Company's upcoming Natural Personal Care Global Series report, though products formulated with a high proportion of synthetic ingredients dominate the global natural personal care market (accounting for nearly 75% of the total market share in 2014), truly natural positioning is gaining importance with consumers and retailers. Following this trend, brand owners have increasingly been reformulating with a higher proportion of truly natural ingredients in their products.
The popularity of natural-inspired products is higher in less mature markets, such as Brazil and some Asia-Pacific countries, where disposable income and consumer awareness regarding product ingredients are low and where distinguishing between natural-inspired and truly natural cosmetics is not as important when making a purchase.
In mature markets such as the United States and Europe, a growing number of consumers are purchasing products containing predominantly natural ingredients. While products that are only natural-inspired continued to prevail in the United States and Europe in 2014, Kline’s ratings system (which analyzes brands’ naturalness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely natural) uncovered shifts in the natural positioning in several U.S. and European brands—including Avalon Organics, Jason, Annemarie Borlind and Melvita all receiving higher ratings in 2014 when compared to prior years.
“These reformulations are the next natural step for companies aiming to establish strong natural concepts, with high importance given to the trust between the brand and the consumers," says Agnieszka Saintemarie, project manager, consumer products at Kline & Company. "Moving upward in the natural ratings is a great way for natural brands to gain acceptance from a larger consumer base in the mid to long term.”
Consumers are willing to invest in these often pricey truly natural products if they deliver effective results. Therefore, brand owners are increasingly focusing on product efficacy. To cater to consumers’ desire to be able to easily select the right product, some brand owners are becoming more transparent in their communication about the quality level of ingredients, certification and the company’s values. And sales data backs this up.
Sales of the global natural personal care market increased by nearly 10% in 2014. All regions continued to surpass the overall beauty market’s growth during 2014. Brazil and Asia-Pacific remained the fastest growing regions during 2014, with both expanding at double-digit rates. However, growth in China is restricted due to formulation challenges, as well as animal-testing methods. Several Western brands (notably Weleda, Lavera and Pangea) have withdrawn from the Chinese market in response.
Growing consumer awareness of synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries and the desire for truly natural products will continue to propel the global natural personal care industry. This segment’s growth is projected at a CAGR of slightly less than 10% through 2019.