Product Performance is Key to Natural Beauty Sales  5/3/2016

The sheer number of cosmetics and personal care products on the shelves today is completely overwhelming for most of us. On any given day, you can walk into the cosmetics department of any retailer and see at least one person, standing, mouth-agape, in front of the rows of products looking like their brain has momentarily hit a snag. So, how does a brand stand out in this increasingly crowded space? Well...let me just say this, if your brand hasn't jumped on the eco-friendly, animal-friendly, natural/organic bandwagon yet, it's about that time....and you don't want to miss this train!

Based on the feedback we've gotten from Beauty Box 5 shoppers, being "cruelty-free" is probably the most important piece of the natural/organic ingredient trend in beauty; the overwhelming majority (93 percent) of the respondents we recently surveyed preferred these animal-friendly products over others. What's interesting however, is that, when it comes to the purchasing decision, less than half (44 percent) say they ONLY purchase "cruelty-free" items. This speaks heavily to the actual performance of a given product -- if a cruelty-free lip liner doesn't perform to a consumer’s expectation, they will turn to another brand to get the payoff they're looking for.

Brands that are marketed as “eco-friendly” ranked second in popularity, with 88 percent of our shoppers saying they are more likely to purchase these cosmetics and personal care products over others. For manufacturers and buyers alike, this means terms like "sustainably harvested" or "earth-friendly" are very important buzz words to use when considering a new line or which products to put on your shelves. Giving back is also a HUGE part of the eco-friendly movement. EcoTools is a great example of a successful eco-friendly brand; its makeup brushes feature recycled aluminum barrels and sustainably-harvested handles and, they work with The Girl Project to raise money to help women around the world complete their secondary schooling.

The majority of the BB5 shoppers surveyed (67 percent) are more likely to purchase natural/organic personal care and cosmetics products over those with artificial or synthetic ingredients. While we know that many of our shoppers are used seeing artificial preservatives in their personal care products, and most (92 percent) feel there need to be more stringent guidelines about what actually goes into these same products.

Natural Skin vs. Natural Makeup
Something we found very interesting among our research was that women feel it’s considerably more important that their skincare products be natural/organic than their makeup products. As a 15-year veteran of the cosmetics industry, I think this speaks very strongly to the poor performance of many of the natural/organic makeup brands on shelves today. While brands like Beautycounter and Bite Beauty are changing this standard for the better, women are used to natural/organic makeups either being difficult to apply or impossible to keep on their skin.

Traditionally, natural/organic products do cost more than their synthetic counterparts; due to several factors, including the scarcity of some essential oils to the sustainable nature of a specific type of packaging. Fortunately, the majority of shoppers we surveyed (68 percent) are willing to pay more for these products, so keep that in mind when setting your MSRP; shoppers really do expect them to be more expensive.

While natural grocery stores and farmers markets used to be the only palaces shoppers could find natural/organic beauty products, now many more retailers offer them, and the majority of our subscribers we surveyed prefer to shop at specialty stores (Sephora, Ulta, Blue Mercury), online, and at big box retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, etc. for their natural/organic personal care products.

Regardless of where they shop and their particular environmental or wellness views, efficacy is key. While most shoppers want to be eco-friendly and healthier in their product selections, if performance is poor, they will avoid the product or brand. What they say and what they do (or in this case, purchase) can often be two different things. Those retailers and brands that offer products with the right combination of product performance and natural/organic/eco-friendliness will see the biggest returns.

Contact Lisa CarrilloSVP of Beauty Care: 440-528-0427

(To see the full playlist, click the menu icon in the upper left corner of the video player)

At ECRM's Cosmetics, Fragrance & Bath EPPS in January, Felicity demonstrated the application of products from select suppliers. (To see the full playlist, click the menu icon in the upper left corner of the video player)

Felicity Fromholz

Director of Product Development
Evolucity Commerce (Beauty Box 5/Lilee)

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