The demand for natural personal care within the mature markets of Western Europe and North America, is maintaining high growth rates, according to market research firm Kline & Company. Recent findings show that while the segment’s 2011 growth waned slightly compared to the five-year compound annual growth rate of 13.9%, it still consistently outperformed the overall beauty market. Actually, Kline expects the global market for natural personal care products to maintain strong growth with a compound annual growth rate of almost 10% through 2016.
The natural trend runs deep
Kline’s Consumer Industry Manager Nancy Mills attributes the resilience of the natural personal care sector to ever growing consumer awareness of health, environmental, and sustainability concerns. "These drivers are near universal, but their influence varies significantly between markets," she observes. "In Western Europe, consumers have a higher awareness and interest concerning product ingredients, business ethics, and sustainability practices, and many are astutely avoiding products which are natural only in positioning. In Eastern Europe, where the movement is starting to blossom, consumers aren’t yet as discerning.”
“Natural personal care is not a fad, but a genuine movement that’s manifesting itself in ever diverse product applications,” continues Mills. “The consumer is better educated, and this can serve the marketer well, particularly as credible certification standards are being implemented and recognized.”
Differences between Europe and the U.S.A.
While they are both growing, the European and US markets reveal distinct features with distinct market leaders. “Moreover, within Europe, the dynamics of the naturals market varies significantly between countries,” explains Kline.
In Western Europe, the natural segment is becoming more mainstream. According to the market research firm, large, predominantly German drug stores, such as DM, Schlecker, and Rossmann, represent the fastest growing pan-European channel.
In the United States, traditional natural health food stores still lead the way, but mass outlets, such as Walmart - which recently introduced its own private-label natural cosmetics - are quickly increasing in significance. Indeed, more mass-market brands are recognizing the vitality and viability of the naturals segment with its inherent market cachet and consumers’ increasing readiness to pay a premium for genuinely natural products. The benefits are manifold; by increasing the channels of distribution and allowing consumers easier access to natural products, both ultimately contribute to the segment’s growth.