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Consumers believe natural ingredients are healthier

By Katie Bird , 06-Oct-2010

Half of consumers believe that cosmetics and personal care products containing natural ingredients are healthier than those with a higher proportion of synthetic ingredients, according to a recent Datamonitor survey.

However, although 52 per cent of those questioned in the online survey (including 15,000 respondents in 20 markets) said they thought natural ingredients were healthier, only a minority believed them to be as effective.

‘Healthy halo’

According to Datamonitor, the results back the idea of the ‘healthy halo’ that consumers appear to experience when they purchase natural products, in addition to reflecting the growing concern about certain synthetic ingredients.

In addition, consumers appear to want to be increasingly informed about the ingredients in their beauty products. This is backed up by the Datamonitor survey as 57 per cent of consumers said they were either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ about knowing the ingredients used in products.

While there is obviously a desire to be more informed, and concern regarding certain synthetic ingredients, there appears to be a lack of understanding of the nature of the chemicals consumers come into contact with on a daily basis.

Only 16 per cent of global consumers considered themselves highly informed about the impact of chemicals used in everyday products on their health, the Datamonitor survey claimed.

This suggests consumers are still open to information from manufacturers regarding the chemicals in personal care products, highlighting the importance of communication between the industry and consumers.

Efficacy questions

Also highlighted by the survey, is the belief that natural ingredients may not be as effective as synthetic ones.

Only 37 per cent of global consumers agreed with the statement ‘health and beauty products formulated with natural ingredients are equally as effective as non-natural products’.

Datamonitor says this shows marketers need to work harder to convince consumers of the efficacy of natural ingredients.

Consumer trends analyst at Datamonitor, Mathew Jones said that shoppers would be unlikely to sacrifice performance benefits in their beauty products and advised natural manufacturers to be wary of price premiums.

“Price is also a factor, as consumer will find it difficult to justify any price premiums when there is doubt as to whether they will even see good results,” he said.

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