Everything’s different in 2020. Yet along with the big changes – the search for new values, the desire for a more natural, healthier lifestyle – there’s also continuity and reliability. With all the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, it’s actually turning out that natural and organic cosmetics and skin care products are becoming more important to consumers all over the world. Natural and organic cosmetics are increasingly relevant. In turn, markets are seeing that reflected as a substantial rise in demand.

BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL: Natural and organic cosmetics market and consumers are seeing big changes
Author: NuernbergMesse / Thomas Geiger

The trend towards sustainability and a rapidly growing range of natural cosmetics, with and without organic certification, is pervading the entire cosmetics market. General conditions are changing as a result. Consumers expect more, while digitalisation has accelerated to a whole new level during the pandemic. More than ever, natural and organic cosmetic brands must prove what makes them unique. And VIVANESS, the international meet-up of the natural and organic cosmetics sector, is also reinventing itself. From 17–19 February 2021 it will join BIOFACH, the World’s Leading Trade Fair for Organic Food, as BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL, a digital platform for exhibitors, discussions and market knowledge.

Natural and organic cosmetics demand is rising

According to the semi-annual report of Frankfurt’s IKW, the German Cosmetic, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergent Association, the beauty products industry in Germany saw only a slight gain of 0.9% in domestic beauty care in June. By contrast, natural and organic cosmetics are reporting almost 10% growth in Germany alone (naturkosmetik konzepte /THE NEW). Depending on how mature the market is, experts project that the world’s sales of natural and organic cosmetics will see growth of between 5% and 8%. So natural and organic cosmetics continue to be a driver for the entire industry.

“Natural cosmetics, with and without organic certification, are growing faster than average in the Germany-Austria-Switzerland region this year, in comparison to the largely saturated general cosmetics market”, says trend researcher Mirja Eckert, of THE NEW, Stuttgart. She’s delighted at the segment’s distinctly positive performance in the first half of 2020. According to the 2019 annual report on natural and organic cosmetics, sales revenues for natural cosmetics with and without certification, across all sales channels in Germany, came to 1.38 billion euros. “Over the past three years, natural and organic cosmetics have recruited more than 3.2 million new customers, and the curve is rising steeply. No matter what generation they belong to, consumers are changing their purchasing behaviour and turning more and more to sustainable products – and the current situation is speeding that up”, the futurist expert explains.

Experts project that the world’s sales of natural and organic cosmetics will see growth of between 5% and 8%

The future of natural and organic cosmetics sector

Wolf Lüdge, owner of the naturkosmetik verlag publishing house in Wetzlar, is also optimistic about the natural and organic cosmetics sector’s future revenue performance: “I assume the very favourable trend from the first half will continue and remain stable in the second half.” Even though the Covid crisis is causing disruptions and challenges in the cosmetics industry, just as it has everywhere else, Lüdge points out that the trend towards a more natural, healthier lifestyle is playing to the natural and organic cosmetics sector’s strengths. The growth trend in the natural and organic cosmetics industry is also confirmed in assessments by the Consumer Panels & Services unit of GfK, the Nuremberg market researcher, which studied consumer expenditures in Germany; they calculate a gain of around 8% from January to September. They note that natural and organic cosmetics are still among the trending segments.

The trend towards natural and organic cosmetics and the upward growth trend are proving robust not just in Germany, but worldwide. France is seeing double-digit growth rates, and sales volumes as well as revenues are rising substantially in Austria and Denmark too. Amarjit Sahota, an international market watcher at Ecovia Intelligence in London, has noted that in spite of all the chaos the pandemic has provoked, natural and organic cosmetics have been making gains all over the world. However, the situation in raw materials is tense, because emergency measures and lockdowns have partly disrupted supply chains.

Staying the same is so yesterday

Industry representatives, experts and speakers at the international conference for the natural and organic cosmetics sector have clearly pointed out that the pandemic has lent new impetus to topics like digitalisation, flexibility, innovativeness and sustainability, and has buoyed demand for natural and organic cosmetics still further. “There won’t be a single ‘new normal’, but many different futures”, says Lüdge, encouraging companies to remain innovative and flexible. Eckert considers the pandemic a unique situation because it affects everyone, without exception. Like all great crises, she notes, it follows a particular pattern: shock – shift – shape. We should expect the shock to be followed by a change and an accelerated transformation, along with a restructuring, she says. She points most of all to the fact that many companies in the beauty and fashion industry have already take advantage of the change to send innovative signals and to extend their bricks-and-mortar shops with digital shopping options. She also notes that new and partly hybrid shop concepts are on the rise, and thus could reach new target groups.

Large-scale drugstores, the principal shopping venues for cosmetics and the leading retailers of natural and organic cosmetics, have developed their product ranges further and are becoming heavily involved in sustainability topics like packaging and refill systems, says Eckert. However, new sales areas are being set up not only on the Internet, but also for instance in bricks-and-mortar organic specialty shops, expanded areas in food stores, and in perfume shops. Natural and organic cosmetics, she notes, still have great potential that is also particularly proving to be resilient during the Covid crisis. “That posits the long-standing trend that during uncertain times, consumers are willing to explore the full range of natural cosmetics – with and without certification – and even niche brands”, the expert explains.

“There won’t be a single ‘new normal’, but many different futures”

Coronavirus stokes trends, innovation and diversity

Following the first coronavirus wave last spring, with “stay home”, working from home, social distancing, and extensive uncertainty, the beauty products segment showed a clear trend by the end of the first half: lipstick and makeup were out; soap, disinfectants and solid body care products enjoyed a boom. So too did online retail. The sustainability trend has gained further momentum, or as the GfK consumer researchers report: “The coronavirus can do nothing to slow the growth trend in sustainable products.” Rather, 36% of the respondents in GfK’s “Beauty Goes Green” study said that the pandemic had made sustainability more important to them.

Successful beauty blogger Julia Keith (BeautyJagd) watches international natural and organic cosmetics markets, and has discovered interesting product trends. Her finding: “During times of coronavirus, soaps are having a more-than-substantial Renaissance.” Lines of bath products and body oils have also grown vigorously. “Many people are spending most of their time at home, and often do something to pamper themselves”.

Author: NuernbergMesse/Erich Malter

The sector has also experienced other influences in 2020 – for instance, the Black Lives Matter movement has fuelled the discussion about suitable beauty products for Black people. “The ideal of beauty has changed fundamentally”, Mirja Eckert explains. That has also given rise to new beauty trends like diversity, personifying beauty products, and beauty at every age. “Brands that tie into individual needs are enjoying an upswing because they satisfy the yearning of a very personal expression of well-being”, the trend expert explains.

A relatively new international beauty trend – but one growing explosively – that both Keith and Eckert have noted is the “skintellectual” movement. Its adherents are educated young women who rely not on manufacturers’ experience and knowledge, but only on the results from science and research. They carefully study ingredients and their effects on their skin type. Eckert foresees potential for natural and organic cosmetics here.

“Brands that tie into individual needs are enjoying an upswing because they satisfy the yearning of a very personal expression of well-being”

Digitalisation accelerates transformation – and vice versa

The lockdown has brought a real boom in e-commerce worldwide. “In three months, the coronavirus has catapulted us ten years into the future”, notes Prof. Dr Thomas Rudolph of Switzerland’s Duttweiler Institute, reflecting on digitalisation and online retail. According to the GfK researchers, online revenues from body care and cosmetics have gained about 25% year-on-year. Prof. Rudolph, who is also Director of the Institute of Retail Management, advises differentiation, optimising the performance promise (problem-solver products or services) and openness to risk as some of the fundamental options for a successful transformation in disruptive times. Alongside the big players in e-commerce who were the first to profit from the situation, he says, many companies have adapted rather quickly to the new pandemic situation and its consequences. Natural cosmetic brands are also focusing their marketing more on online shops and social media. Julia Keith: “People are producing stories on brands in places like Instagram Live, and some are even working interactively to offer clients ‘retailtainment’ that encourages them to buy. That reaches new target groups.”

According to the GfK researchers, online revenues from body care and cosmetics have gained about 25% year-on-year

The pandemic has changed things a lot. And that also goes for the BIOFACH and VIVANESS trade fair pairing. In response to restrictions because of the coronavirus, the event organiser, NürnbergMesse, has decided for the first time to hold these leading international trade fairs for their sectors in entirely digital form. So BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL will be held from 17–19 February. Flexibility and innovation are the byword here as well.

“Every crisis also offers an opportunity, and I’m certain that BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL is an excellent platform that will serve until we can meet again in person in Nuremberg for BIOFACH and VIVANESS 2022. Despite all obstacles, we want to offer our exhibitors, visitors and media representatives a rich sector meeting and experience – albeit in digital form. Innovative technology will offer the possibility of attractive corporate and product presentations and also dialogue, networking, and the conference’s wealth of knowledge transfer. We’re looking forward to our joint BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL!”, says Danila Brunner, head of BIOFACH and VIVANESS.

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