Savvy consumers influence savvy formulators. That is the conclusion of a recent report, titled “Activism: Does the Consumer Drive Actives Development?” by market research firm Kline & Company.
Need for visible results
According to Kline, consumers are becoming more informed and engaged and are raising expectations regarding personal care products. They “invest in themselves” and are ready to pay more, provided products offer specific benefits and visible results.
“Savvy personal care formulators understand this and are marketing their products by emphasizing their active ingredients to informed consumers,” explains Nikola Matic, the author of the report. “Label reading is no longer the exception and, coupled with easy access to information, consumers are making more educated choices. Clever marketing can certainly draw consumer’s attention, but ultimately a product has to deliver,” he adds.
Premiumisation and diversification
“With a growing number of personal care products stressing the inclusion of active ingredients in their formulations, consumers are learning to differentiate between various actives and in turn seek higher-end solutions,” writes Matic.
As a consequence, no longer are specialty actives the preserve of women’s prestige skin-care applications, their usage is growing in lower-end products.
Increased awareness of the efficacy of actives among consumers also afforded specialty actives marketers excellent opportunities to diversify. Actives can now be found in products as diverse as hair-care, male grooming products, slimming, sun-protection and active make-up systems.
According to Kline, hair care is the second largest market for actives, after anti-aging products with sales accounting for 15.7% of the US market and 9.1% of the European market.
Green for growth
Not all ingredients benefit from the raise in consumer awareness. As a result of possible health hazards exposed in the media, some personal care ingredients have become undesirable. Examples include otherwise commonly used additives such as silicones or parabens. Conversely, positively endorsed ingredients such as vitamins, collagen, co-enzyme Q10 and, more recently, hyaluronic acid, are well perceived by consumers and marketers avail themselves of this fact by emphasizing these ingredients in their product communications.
Green actives are those that have gained the greater advantage from the consumer Zeitgeist. Actually, the green trend has been driving the active ingredients market for over a decade. “Specialty actives suppliers have accommodated this growth by developing natural sourced actives, and eco-certifying some of their products for the needs of fully natural brands. This has also resulted in the rapid growth of the botanical actives segment with an estimated CAGR of 4% expected in the United States by 2015, and 5% in Europe during the same period.”
However, plant-based ingredients also are impacted by the consumer’s quest for efficacy, and formulators are increasingly seeking to use botanicals as substantiated functional ingredients. This trend also benefits to natural-sourced biotechnology products.
In maturing markets such as Western Europe and the United States, the combination of specialty actives and naturals thus appear as the ultimate growth driver.