After several years of double-digit growth between 2007 and 2011, organic food and cosmetic markets are now experiencing a slowdown. The prospective study, commissioned by Organics Cluster - an association gathering the different operators of the organic sector in Frances’ Rhône-Alpes region - and Cosmebio, aimed at helping industry players to better understand what are the propellers of these markets and to anticipate possible developments.
The first scenario proposed in the survey ("Emerging Organics") outlines an organic cosmetics market quite similar in 2025 to what it is now and still struggling to organize itself. According to this scenario, the increasing number of private initiatives, the complexity of brands’ claims, the confusing profusion of labels and the lack of mass marketing, will limit the development of the segment and small and micro organic businesses will face stiff competition from large marketers of conventional cosmetics. In this context, according to the authors of the study, the winning strategy is to provide consumers with more transparency and traceability.
On the contrary, the second scenario ("Central organics") outlines the importance of the organic cosmetics markets betting that organic products will become a true safe haven amid repeated health and environmental crises. Widely recognized and supported by national and European authorities, the operators will successfully unite and organize themselves through virtuous contracting methods, driven by citizens willing to pay for good health. Social and environmental responsibility (CSR), as well as ethical approaches - in particular in the supply chain - will then become a factor of success.
The third scenario (“liberal organics”) draws the lines of a liberal and financially driven organic cosmetics market. Within a difficult economic environment, companies would join forces in order to become more competitive. Major cosmetics groups, increasingly involved in CSR, would massively buy small and micro businesses in the organic sector. Marketers would communicate on "natural" cosmetics and insist on the availability of their low priced products in nearby supermarkets. In this case, the winning strategy is to provide a more accessible and innovative organic cosmetics.
The fourth scenario outlines a "suspect organic industry" with diluted principles and no real specificity. The assumption is that more stringent regulations will force conventional cosmetics to a greater respect for the environment. In parallel, scandals impacting organic cosmetics may also weaken the sector. Consumers would divert to other values, such as local purchase for example. In this context, the winning strategy is to maintain a close and trustful relationship with the consumer.
While it is difficult to deem which one of the four scenarios is most likely to occur, each of them helps to discern what are the key issues and the main market drivers of organic cosmetics market and to better understand its current difficulties.