HAS ROOM TO GROW
After slumping during The Great Recession, global sales of natural and organic
cosmetics and toiletries topped $9 billion in 2011.
Imogen Matthews • In-Cosmetics
AFTER MANY YEARS of double-digit growth, the annual growth rate for the global natural and organic cosmetics and toiletries market has slowed to
7-9%, according to Organic Monitor. Valued
at $9.1 billion in 2011, the global market
continues to attract manufacturers keen
on satisfying consumer demand for natural or organic alternatives to mainstream
The two largest regions for natural and
organic cosmetics are in North America
and Europe. In North America, the market is dominated by natural cosmetics, with fewer consumers actively seeking organic alternatives, or certified products, than in Europe.
“In Europe, there is a greater focus on organic cosmetics and
certification in particular,” explained Amarjit Sahota, director,
Organic Monitor. “Our research shows that almost 70% of pure
natural and organic cosmetics are now certified in Europe. The
percentage in North America is less than 10%.”
Sahota maintained that Europe is primarily responsible for
the slowdown in global growth. Demand in Europe is showing
low growth due to the debt crisis. Economic conditions have af-
fected consumer purchasing power, while the harsh retail envi-
ronment is making retailers less inclined to introduce natural and
organic product lines. The North American market is in recovery
mode, having picked up since the 2007-2009 US financial crisis.
In Asia, market growth rates are continuing at double-digit levels,
albeit from a low base.
Investment in new product launches has continued, according to Mintel, which has recorded 6,999 new “all natural” and
“organic” global beauty and personal care launches for 2012
(through November), compared to 7, 139 new product launches
in 2011. Organic Monitor research confirms that the number of
new product launches has dropped significantly in Europe during the past 12 months due to weak economic conditions, but
launches are increasing in North America
and, in particular, Asia.
“There have been important developments in Asia, whereby many new brands
have come into the market and established
Asian companies like Himalaya Herbals
(India) and Amore Pacific (Korea) launch
certified lines,” explained Sahota.
Although there’s no universal certification,
No International Certification
More than five years ago, Organic Monitor
called for regional, if not international, certification for natural and organic cosmetics.
“I regret to say that we are no closer to this goal,”observed Sahota.
“If anything, fragmentation is occurring at the standards level.”
He noted that there are now more than 20 different standards
in Europe alone, including new ones launched in Asia Pacific with
more in the pipeline in other regions. In Europe, Cosmos has not
yet taken off as the major European certification agencies (includ-
ing Ecocert, Cosmebio, Soil Association and BDiH) had hoped.
Natrue got off to a good start in 2009 with the aim of becoming
a pan-European standard. However, until now, its adoption rate
is mainly in German-speaking countries. In North America, the
Natural Products Association and NSF International are the main
standards, but neither has an organic standard.
“We appear to be seeing more standards developing and no
regional standard, let alone global standard,” said Sahota.
Barbara Olioso, green chemist and founder of natural skin
care brand Forest Secrets, insists that there are too many standards and too many symbols. She points out that even when
chemists make the effort to formulate a green product according
to a green standard, they may discover it has no meaning to the
consumer, because people do not know about it. She experienced
this first-hand with her own brand.
“I realized that if there is no education and recognition behind
a certification system, it is not worth the effort and investment.”
consumers remain enamored with natural and
organic personal care products.