Market for natural cosmetics booms in France

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Personal care products Personal care Cosmetics

On the back of consumer awareness about the use of chemicals in
cosmetic and personal care products, the market for natural
cosmetics is said to have grown by a staggering 40 per cent during
2005, as consumers reach for products they perceive to carry less
of a health risk.

According to a new report from UK-based Organic Monitor, growing consumer awareness of chemicals in cosmetics & toiletries thanks to media reports is the main cause for the rise in demand.

Both media and pressure groups have been highlighting potential health risks associated with chemicals in personal care products and consumers are responding by turning to natural products, the report says.

One particular television documentary is said to have been a catalyst for the market shift. Broadcast in March 2005, it highlighted the possible dangers of substances like parabens and petrochemicals in personal care products.

Subsequently retailers have reported a surge in demand, with some consumers describing the documentary as an 'electric shock' that increased their awareness and drove them to make what they perceive to be healthier choices.

The increase in natural cosmetics has been a global phenomenon, as consumers in all markets have picked up on the trend for health and well being. Natural cosmetics and personal care products have become an integral part of this trend because they are made from plant extracts, natural ingredients and contain minimal levels of synthetic compounds.

A new study by Organic Monitor shows that in France sales are continuing to rise at fast pace in 2006. This means that organic food shops and health food retailers are increasing shelf-space for natural & organic products to meet burgeoning consumer demand.

Likewise tetail penetration is also increasing with a growing number of supermarkets and department stores introducing these products to their shelves, which means that these products are increasingly competing side-by-side with many of the products that the media reports have highlighted.

Taking a closer look at the figures, Organic monitor say that the natural deodorants and colour cosmetic segments are reporting the highest growth. This is because consumer concern about the nature of anti-perspirants and aluminum salts in deodorants are making natural deodorants popular.

Overall the French market is growing from a small base however, with natural products still having less then a 2 per cent share of total cosmetic & toiletry sales. Natural skin care products are the largest category, comprising 70 per cent of natural cosmetic revenues.

Equally the study finds that organic cosmetics are becoming increasingly important, with French consumers seeing organic logos as a guarantee of ethical and safe products that allay fears over harsh chemicals.

All of this means that this niche now represents a total of 1,700 products, with French certified organic products accounting for about a quarter of natural cosmetic sales, which compares to a segment that was virtually non existent just a few years ago.

However, ultimately Organic Monitor says that it expects non-French brands to possibly lose out as the Cosmebio logo rises to prominence amongst a consumer public with strong awareness of what the logo represents.

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