The natural and organic cosmetics and beauty sector is benefiting directly from the megatrends driving change in the world today. 

That’s the view of experts speaking ahead of this week’s VIVANESS trade show and congress in Nuremberg, Germany. 

The key themes for the beauty industry identified by the experts are free-from, alternatives to animal testing, microplastics, digitalization and implementing environmental regulations imposed by policy-makers – for example, making the EU climate-neutral by 2050. 

“Natural and organic cosmetics fit very well with this new awareness of meaningfulness and responsibility,” says natural cosmetic market analyst Elfriede Dambacher, of Dortmund-based naturkosmetik konzepte, and she has the figures to back this up. In her Natural and Organic Cosmetics Report 2018 she writes, “Holistic beauty products are still enjoying a growth trend. According to international market research institutes, the global cosmetics and bodycare industry recorded six percent growth in this segment in 2018 – the highest value in the past decade.”

Trend researcher Mirja Eckert, of THE NEW (Stuttgart), considers megatrends like health, digitalization and demographic change as the drivers of change in our time. “They characterize our lifestyles and awaken new needs and desires in us that ultimately find expression in product trends and our consumer behaviour,” comments Eckert. “Considered alongside the growing importance of sustainability, the positive development of natural and organic cosmetics is not surprising, and they will continue to advance,” she predicts. 

According to Dr Robert Kecskes, global insights director at market research institute GfK, this will continue even under weakening economic conditions: “Natural and organic cosmetics are still in demand even in times of economic uncertainty; the need for responsible consumption is not going to abate.” Eckert confirms this trend: “Because of the growing importance of sustainability, our society is increasingly focusing on preserving nature, which can be seen in practices like ethical consumption. Resources are being used more sensitively, and we are adopting a more prudent approach in the way we perceive and experience nature. Natural and organic cosmetics benefit as a result.”

Authenticity and proximity to nature
GfK expert Kecskes analyzes the consumption patterns of “LOHAS” (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), and observes that this group has been growing for a number of years, accounting for more than 30% of the German population in 2018. The LOHAS lifestyle combines individual well-being with social responsibility. That means their consumption patterns are defined by health, vitality and balance just as much as by the environment, sustainability and fairness. Then there is the aspect of “moral hedonism”. That includes having fun, following their wishes and seeking exciting experiences, Kecskes explains. But at the same time, sustainability is no longer perceived as doing without, but as a liberation from harmful and burdensome products (sugar and plastic, for example), and so represents a gain in terms of new freedom for pleasure, indulgence, self-realization and adventure, according to the observations of the GFK expert.

At an international level, the global trend toward sustainability is also impossible to overlook: a survey of 3,300 consumers in seven EU countries showed that integrity and the environment were important factors in product choice for more than 70 percent of the participants. In the 2018 IRi European Shopper Survey, 71% of customers prefer brands from companies that can demonstrate fairness, transparency and integrity;

72% of Europeans prefer to buy products from companies that respect the environment, and 72% also favour products with environmentally friendly packaging. In summary, sustainability is the main factor when making purchasing decisions.

Customization – Influence of start-ups
The values of buyers of start-up brands, in particular, are characterized by sustainability, hedonism and a proximity to nature, according to findings by the GfK Consumer Panel “Why2Buy”. And conversely, start-ups often focus on elements and values that are important to today’s consumers. They offer answers and innovative, often customized, solutions to questions of contemporary interest, which meet desires for sustainable, natural products, sensibly packed, with a transparent origin and the result of fair trade.

Digitalization – the increasing importance of online business
The e-commerce trend is continuing, and there is no sign of its growth coming to an end, according to IRi managing director Christoph Knoke.  This is confirmed by the global figures from market research institute Information Resources for September 2019. Compared with the previous year, online revenue for beauty products in the US grew by 35%, for example, followed by 27% for Italy and 14% for the UK.

In Germany, too, many products are enjoying growth of 20-30%+. By 2021, market researchers are predicting a market share of 7 to 10 percent for online trading.

There is also a clear link between start-ups and e-commerce. Many young businesses rely on the Internet when it comes to marketing their products, with advertising being social media-based in many cases: before a brand appears on the shelf it will be available online. “Advances in digitalization are leading to new business models,” Eckert notes, and explains, “Innovative service and information tools will set new industry standards in the dialogue with consumers. In R&D, digitalized innovation labs are opening up new fields of business for natural ingredients.” She also highlights customized product ranges as a further trend and effect of digital globalization. “In addition to local natural and organic cosmetic ranges, concepts from other cultural groups or niche products will also be more readily available.” The forecast is that both the cosmetic industry and the markets will undergo a deep-seated transformation.

Photos: Scenes from this week’s VIVANESS exhibition