California SCC Suppliers’ Day keynote explores how beauty consumers define ‘natural’

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

California SCC Suppliers’ Day keynote explores how beauty consumers define ‘natural’

Related tags Natural personal care Marketing

Denise J. Herich, founder of the beauty product testing and consumer research firm The Benchmarking Company, kicked off Suppliers’ Day last Wednesday in Long Beach, California, with a data-rich presentation on how today’s consumer understands natural personal care and cosmetics.

Among beauty consumers, says Denise J. Herich of The Benchmarking Company, there is a “big perceived value of natural and organic products.” ​According to her firm’s research, consumers believe that natural ingredients are worth more; and they are willing to pay accordingly for products formulated with naturals.

Where to begin

The Benchmarking Company recently completed a research project, gathering data on consumer perceptions of, expectations for, and curiosity about natural personal care and beauty products.

Herich highlights that natural deodorant is testing well in market research. She sees this as a likely response to perceived hazards of aluminum-based compounds included in conventional product formulations. And she’s likely on to something; Carmen Craig, marketing manager for indie personal care brand Ursa Major, has called deodorant the gateway to natural personal care and beauty​. As Cosmetics Design has noted, “once consumers find a reliable product in a category as essential as deodorant, they believe that clean and green beauty can be effective.”

Data Herich shared shows that the natural beauty consumer “seeks the truth, is principled, socially aware, [and] concerned for…our environment.”

  • 82% believe it is important that the brand lists all of its product ingredients on its website
  • 80% believe it is important that the brand does not test on animals
  • 68% believe it is important [that] the brand pays a living wage to all employees
  • 57% believe it is important for the brand to be socially and environmentally responsible
  • 60% believe it is important [that] the brand is ‘green’ and eco-friendly

What to use

It’s a bit of a line at this point to say that today consumers read labels more than ever. But it’s certainly worth knowing what they are reading for. During her presentation Herich put up a slide listing the top ten ingredients shoppers “look for…when purchasing a natural or organic product.”

  • 75% look for Aloe Vera
  • 67% look for Argan Oil
  • 67% look for Vitamin E
  • 64% look for Vitamin C
  • 61% look for Coconut Oil
  • 60% look for Cocoa Butter
  • 57% look for Avocado Oil
  • 56% look for Antioxidants
  • 56% look for Honey
  • 52% look for Collagen

Herish also went through a fuller list of perceived natural ingredients that consumers want to see included in product formulations, as well as a short list of the naturals they were interested in 10 years back.

Who to know

Brand recognition goes a long way; and in the natural beauty and personal care space, the Clorox-owned brand Burt’s Bees is outpacing everyone.

According to The Benchmarking Company data, over 90% of survey respondents recognize the Burt’s Bees brand. This is good news for Clorox—at the start of 2017 the company launched a beauty from within line​ and just recently a full color cosmetics line. There’s even indication that Clorox has plans to extend the brand further yet​.

Other brands top-of-mind among natural beauty consumers are Aveda, The Body Shop, Tom’s of Maine, Origins, JASON, Dr. Bronners, and Lush, according to Herish’s data. Consumer favorites include The Honest Company, Yes to, and Shea Moisture. Weleda is among beauty shoppers’ favorite organic brands; though, as Herish pointed out during her keynote address, for consumers the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ do sometimes get convoluted.

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