Although the conscious consumer is a relatively new phenomenon, it’s a powerful one. These new ethical, health-conscious consumers look beyond the label: they want to know everything about where the raw materials came from, the product’s composition, the manufacturing process, right through to the company’s corporate responsibility projects. This is especially the case as concerns about sustainability and the environment grow; customers want to feel that the choices they make play a part in protecting the planet.
This attitude has made the consumer more empowered than ever before. Now, reputation is everything, as it could drastically affect where consumers choose to invest their hard-earned money. There’s no doubt that the conscious consumer is here to stay – and what’s more, they’re extremely influential. Looking at the medium and long term, this purchasing behavior is set to become more prevalent, particularly in the health and beauty industry.
Ethics, sustainability, and cosmetics
Ethics and sustainability have always played an important role when it comes to consumer behavior and the beauty industry. For example, animal welfare is lately of particular concern, and this is set to extend. From food to beauty and fashion through to pet products, consumers are increasingly making decisions based on animal welfare issues. Furthermore, consumers are tending towards vegan and vegetarian diets. This tendency is also bleeding out into other consumer choices, where health-conscious consumers are actively seeking plant-based products.
For instance, in a survey across 11 nations conducted by Ingredion Inc., 60% of respondents want to see more “kitchen-like” ingredients in cosmetics, such as plant-based oils, flours, starches, or proteins. Mintel drilled deeper into this tendency in their report on new trends in food-based beauty. Globally, they found:
- In the UK, 31% of consumers believe that fatty acids promote skin, hair, and nail health.
- In the US, 37% of facial skin care users say natural products are free from chemical ingredients they wish to avoid.
- Meanwhile, NPD in products featuring ingredients like beetroot, rhubarb, and carrot has grown steadily over the last five years.
It’s statistics like this that Provital keeps at the forefront of their approach when developing products. Provital aims to meet the needs of health-conscious consumers by using clean, ethically-sourced, and recognizable ingredients that consumers feel they can trust.
Industry growth and health-conscious consumers
The growing popularity of the natural beauty segment is supported by statistical research. Moreover, according to a recent report compiled by the Soil Association, this growth can be largely put down to conscious consumerism and attitudes towards well-being. Consumers look for products that are sourced sustainably and organically, due to the tacit link between ecological practices, organic produce, and health. According to a survey by AlixPartners, 72% of 4,500 respondents in China, the UK, Germany, France, and the USA said that it was important to buy products that were healthy or clean.
Moreover, this growth isn’t insubstantial. As indicated in the study, the organic beauty market in the UK alone has grown by 14% since last year, marking its 8th consecutive year of growth. In other regions this growth is even more pronounced; in Middle Eastern markets, a report by TechSci Research suggested the industry will continue to grow by 12-15% annually until 2023.
And it isn’t just market size that counts – it’s also the health-conscious consumer’s spending power. According to a report compiled by the National Retail Federation in the United States, one dietitian observed that her customers spent on average 5–7% more after their consultations. This is connected to the conscious consumer’s understanding of value; the more they research a product and its ingredients, the more they’re willing to pay for a quality product.
Ethical is going mainstream
The numbers don’t lie – the influence of health-conscious consumers shouldn’t be underestimated by the beauty industry. This desire for greater transparency and corporate responsibility is forcing the beauty industry to reconsider its approach. Instead of cost-cutting or fast-tracking, companies should aim to differentiate themselves by demonstrating their commitment to ethical practices. By showing a savvier consumer that their ingredients are clean and cruelty-free, cosmetics companies can remain relevant in an increasingly consumer-driven market.