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The Silent Transformation of the Skin Care Industry

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Change is in the air within the skin care industry and until now, the trend has gone relatively unnoticed. Many beauty, cosmetic, and skin treatment products have been reformulated and others soon will be. Kline Group estimates that the organic and natural cosmetics sectors are experiencing twice the amount of growth as the classic cosmetics sector within Europe and the United States and even faster growth in Asia. This trend is expected to continue through 2016 so skin care brands should take steps to gain market share.

Current consumers are much more knowledgeable than their predecessors were regarding product ingredients. They read product labels and many chose natural or organic alternatives to chemical-filled cosmetics, beauty, and skin care products. In 2007, REACh legislation in Europe thrust more than 30,000 chemical ingredients into the spotlight and tasked providers with the burden of proof regarding product safety. Greenpeace, the Suzuki Foundation, and the Cosmetox guide educated consumers about “toxic beauty.”

The industry reacted by refining products to include natural alternatives to chemical ingredients. This trend has been kept relatively silent for two reasons. Many manufacturers hesitate to air the fact that their products once included harmful chemicals. Others have found it difficult to make natural claims about their products when these items are not totally natural or organic.

Despite these factors, progress continues to be made, driven largely by consumer demand. Growth within the natural cosmetics sector has been nothing less than explosive. In France alone, this market has grown more than 80 percent within the past three years. Consumers are being segmented into various types and those who represent the largest buyers of organic and natural skin care products are being studied in depth.

Some of these consumers are focused on projecting an eco-friendly image. Others are influenced more by pressure from the media and are attracted to cosmetic, beauty, and skin care products with eco-friendly packaging. This second group is willing to pay for an organic product with a reputable brand name. Marketers are focusing on this target audience with new natural product releases.

As the skin care industry continues its metamorphosis, brands will employ different methods to differentiate their natural product lines. Increasing competition will require product offerings, brand positioning, and marketing messages to become more creative. To be most successful, a brand will need to break through traditional category boundaries and express its unique natural contribution to the marketplace.

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