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VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL: Natural and organic cosmetics market and consumers are seeing big changes

Everything was different in 2020. But, also in 2021, the current state of affairs is still much not as we are used to. VIVANESS, the international natural cosmetics industry meeting place, is reinventing itself and will take place from 17 - 19 February 2021, together with BIOFACH, the world's leading trade fair for organic food, as BIOFACH / VIVANESS 2021 eSPECIAL, as a digital platform for exhibitors, exchange and market knowledge. What played a role in the global market for natural cosmetics in 2020? Besides the major changes caused by the pandemic, the search for new values, the desire for more naturalness as well as health, there is fortunately also continuity and reliability. Especially with all the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, it is evident that natural cosmetics and care products are increasingly in demand among consumers: Natural cosmetics are becoming more and more relevant. This, in turn, is reflected in the markets in a continued significant increase in demand. The trend towards sustainability and an enormously growing range of natural cosmetics with and without labels is making its way into the entire cosmetics market. This is also changing the general conditions. The demands of consumers are increasing, while at the same time digitalisation is experiencing a new level of acceleration in the pandemic. More than ever, natural cosmetics brands are challenged to prove their uniqueness

Vivaness Novelties 2020. Photo Karin Heinze

Demand is rising; so are consumers’ expectations

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.

Wolf Lüdge, former 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.

“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”

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.”

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”

Sustainability, solid "body care" and little packaging waste are in vogue.

Photo: Karin Heinze

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.

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.”
“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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