China is losing market share in the Asian natural and organic cosmetics market, recently revealed market Organic Monitor. According to the market research firm, Chinese market growth rates are declining because of animal-testing methods and formulation challenges for local players.

In the last 18 months, many Western brands of natural and organic cosmetics, including Weleda, Lavera, Pangea Organic, Logona and Juice Beauty, have withdrawn from the Chinese market in protest against animal-testing methods. “Other green brands like Dr. Hauschka and The Body Shop are shunning the Chinese market for the same reason,” explains Organic Monitor.

Beyorg store at the Hysan Place mall in Hong Kong - Beyorg is a retail...

Beyorg store at the Hysan Place mall in Hong Kong - Beyorg is a retail concept dedicated to high-end natural and organic cosmetics © Premium Beauty Media

Actually, boosted by growing consumer awareness of health and wellness issues the Asian natural cosmetics market is expanding by about 15% per year. “Few Chinese companies however are producing natural and organic cosmetics because of formulation and ingredient issues and there is low availability of certified organic ingredients and natural extracts, which are mainly imported into China. Formulators and product developers also lack technical expertise in removing synthetic ingredients from cosmetic formulations.

Hong Kong however is benefiting most from the ‘boycotting of the Chinese market’. All leading international natural and organic cosmetic brands have a presence in the Hong Kong market, including of green cosmetic retailers Apivita, Jasmin Skincare, Aveda, Neal’s Yard Remedies, Jurlique, Melvita, and Comvita. Indeed, western brands are raising exports in Hong Kong and in the wider Asian region since few Asian brands have been successful in developing such products.

Melvita store at the Hysan Place mall in Hong Kong © Premium Beauty...

Melvita store at the Hysan Place mall in Hong Kong © Premium Beauty Media

Only when Asian companies manage to formulate natural and organic cosmetics with the same efficacy as Western brands, will they be able to tap the potential of their local markets,” concludes Organic Monitor.

These technical and marketing issues will be featured in the 4th Asia-Pacific edition of the Sustainable Cosmetics Summit, which will be hosted at Excelsior Hong Kong on 10-11th November 2014.