Sales of the global natural personal care market increased by nearly 10% in 2014, finds consulting and research firm Kline & Company in its imminent Natural Personal Care Global Series report. All regions continued to surpass the overall beauty market’s growth during 2014. Brazil and Asia-Pacific remained the fastest growing regions during 2014, with both expanding at double-digit rates. However, growth in China is restricted due to formulation challenges, as well as animal-testing methods. Several Western brands, such as Weleda, Lavera, and Pangea, among others, have withdrawn from the Chinese market in protest.

Natural-inspired products dominate

According to Kline, growing consumer awareness of synthetic chemicals in cosmetics and toiletries and the desire for truly natural products will continue to propel the global natural personal care industry. This segment’s growth is projected at a CAGR of slightly less than 10% through 2019.

However, the market research firm says products with natural claims but formulated with a high proportion of synthetic ingredients dominate the global natural personal care market, accounting for nearly 75% of the total market share in 2014. These natural-inspired are particularly popular in less mature markets, such as Brazil and some Asia-Pacific countries, where disposable income and consumer awareness regarding product ingredients are low.

Towards truly natural formulas

Even in mature markets, products that are only natural-inspired continue to prevail. However, consumer’s awareness is growing, leading increasing numbers of consumers and retailers to select products containing predominantly natural ingredients. Following this trend, marketers have increasingly been reformulating with a higher proportion of natural ingredients in their products.

In the United States and Europe in 2014, Kline’s ratings system, which analyzes brands’ naturalness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being completely natural, uncovered shifts in the natural positioning in several U.S. and European brands, including Avalon Organics, Jāsön, Annemarie Börlind, and Melvita, all receiving higher ratings in 2014 when compared to prior years.

These reformulations are the next natural step for companies aiming to establish strong natural concepts with high importance given to the trust between the brand and the consumers. Moving upward in the natural ratings is a great way for natural brands to gain acceptance from a larger consumer base in the mid- to long-term,” explains Agnieszka Saintemarie, Project Manager, Consumer Products at Kline & Company.

To cater to consumers’ desire to be able to easily select the right product, some marketers are becoming more transparent in their communication about the quality level of ingredients, certification, and the company’s values.

However, consumers are willing to invest in these often pricey truly natural products but only if they deliver effective results. Therefore, marketers are increasingly focusing on product efficacy, highlights Kline.