“Healthy growth in the Middle-Eastern market for natural cosmetics is continuing in spite of political instability and social unrest,” says specialist market research firm Organic Monitor in a new report. 
Small market base
However, the region’s high growth rates may be deceptive as they come from a very small base. “Compared to Europe and North America where the market share is above 3%, natural products comprise just 0.1% of cosmetic sales in the Middle-East,” the company details.
Although the region has a sizeable consumer market, adoption rates are low. Lack of consumer awareness, high product prices, and the absence of indigenous brands contribute to this situation. Another obstacle is the small market for organic products, which prevents consumer demand to percolate from foods to cosmetic products. High competition from ‘pseudo-natural brands’, which are often cheaper and supported by large marketing budgets, is also another explanation.
Concerns about synthetic chemicals
Nevertheless, Organic Monitor points out that, as in other regions, Middle Eastern consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about synthetic chemicals. Furthermore, product penetration is increasing in pharmacies, beauty retailers, and department stores.
The United Arab Emirates natural cosmetics market is the largest in the region and comprises over half of total revenues. In other countries, demand is mainly concentrated in major cities, such as Riyadh, Kuwait City and Manama.
Korres and Neal’s Yard Remedies have emerged as the market leaders. According to Organic Monitor, the two brands have adapted their distribution strategies so as to educate consumers on their products.