13 - 16 February 2024 // Nürnberg, Germany

BIOFACH Newsroom

VIVANESS 2022: Sustainability is a top issue in the global market for natural and organic cosmetics

© NürnbergMesse / Hans-Martin Issler

The latest analysis and numbers on the German cosmetics market confirm the trend that has been apparent for many years: Natural and organic cosmetics have entered the mainstream. Natural body care and beauty products are available in all retail channels today and have become still more diverse and visible across all product categories on shop shelves everywhere. Various market research findings show that natural and organic cosmetics were the only segment in the entire German cosmetics market to experience greater demand and higher sales in 2021. One of every three buyers of cosmetic products chose natural and organic cosmetics last year. According to market experts, this trend can be attributed to the fact that these brands credibly meet the ever-rising demand of consumers for products that contribute to the goals of resource conservation, animal welfare, and climate protection, as well as other ethical and social concerns. At the same time, consumers’ high expectations for product efficacy and functionality must also be met. Moreover, the variety of available products and the corresponding level of innovation are attracting younger consumers.

At this year’s VIVANESS, the International Trade Fair for Natural and Organic Personal Care, which will be held this year as a one-off
Summer Edition from 26 to 29 July 2022, trade visitors will be able to track down the latest trends, discover innovations, gain an overview of market developments and new products, and meet roughly 200 exhibitors from numerous countries.

To provide the humanitarian aid that is so urgently needed at this time, NürnbergMesse, together with the City of Nuremberg, has set up an emergency shelter for Ukrainian war refugees in Hall 3C of the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre. Thus, VIVANESS and BIOFACH are joining forces to aid the refugees in the Summer Edition. For the first time ever, in 2022 VIVANESS will have a new home in Halls 8 and 9, where it will be integrated with the BIOFACH Exhibition. The VIVANESS Novelty Stand and New Product Trends will be located in Hall 8, while the joint stand for young innovative companies and the special show Breeze will be held in Hall 9. The VIVANESS will return to Hall 3C in 2023.

Natural and organic cosmetics: Higher sales and wider customer reach

The shifts occurring in the German cosmetics market could not be more clear: Natural and organic cosmetics have gained new buyers amidst a declining overall market, resulting in wider customer reach. According to an estimate of the German Cosmetics, Toiletry, Perfumery and Detergents Association (IKW), total market sales declined by 3.1% to EUR 13.6 billion
in 2021. By contrast, natural and organic cosmetics was the only segment to register higher sales, rising by 1.8% to EUR 1.48 billion (2020:
EUR 1.46 billion). Thus, natural and organic cosmetics accounted for nearly 11% of all sales in the German cosmetics market. After the United States, the German natural and organic cosmetics market ranks second worldwide, followed by France. The fast-growing trend towards natural body care and beauty products is impressively demonstrated by 1.6 million new customers in Germany alone. “One out of every three cosmetics buyers purchased natural and organic cosmetics products in 2021”, said trends and market expert Mirja Eckert, who publishes the natural and organic cosmetics industry monitor THE NEW in collaboration with leading market research firms.

Younger consumers and complete transformation

According to Eckert, the success of natural and organic cosmetics can be attributed not only to the growing demand for such products, but also the fact that natural and organic cosmetics are now available in all sales channels, meaning they have entered the mainstream. She remarked that younger consumers are increasingly turning to natural and organic cosmetics, pointing to findings of the market research firm GfK Marktforschung, Nuremberg, which confirm this trend. As Eckert explained, however, the shift towards sustainability can be seen throughout the entire cosmetics industry. All product categories and assortments are being expanded to include such products, she said. “Some cosmetics companies have already identified certified natural and organic cosmetics as a top priority for their sustainability strategies”, Eckert said.

At the IKW financial statements press conference in December 2021, GfK expert Dr. Robert Kecskes emphasized the continuing strength of the sustainability trend, stating that companies that have aligned themselves with this trend are benefitting from strong growth rates. Many people sense that the time has come for a paradigm shift. In describing the future attitudes of consumers, Kecskes stated that society is undergoing a transformation from an industrial society to a “plus-global culture” society, which is open to global trends and differs from previous generations in terms of their attitudes about product utility and values. This new, sustainability-focused, creative middle class wants a better life in balance with nature. In addition to a responsible lifestyle, however, these new consumers also want pleasure, fun, and glamour. “This is precisely what the newcomer brands offer”, Kecskes said.

Sales channels: Drugstores still lead the pack

Drugstores are by far the most important sales outlet for natural cosmetics in Germany. Their product assortments composed of strong private-label brands, traditional brands, and newcomer brands are increasingly oriented to environmental protection. Because drugstores are the primary channels for beauty products, this is where people often first encounter natural cosmetics. Offering a wide selection of both certified and uncertified natural cosmetics, they meet the expectations of sustainability-focused consumers and are also reaching new target groups with topics such as “less waste”, vegan cosmetics, and climate-neutral products. According to Eckert, drugstore chains together with food retailing formats control more than 50% of the natural and organic cosmetics market. Among the various food retailing formats, supermarkets with large toiletries departments and ample space for natural and organic cosmetics were especially successful last year, explained Mirja Eckert of THE NEW. Natural food and health food shops, historically the “original sales channel” for genuine natural and organic cosmetics, continue to lose market share. On the other hand, sales of natural and organic cosmetics have been boosted by various e-commerce concepts with complex marketing structures ranging from conventional web shops to social media marketing, which experts believe will increasingly set the tone in the future. Generally speaking, the boundaries between online sales and brick-and-mortar sales are becoming more and more blurred. For example, online shops offer newcomer brands the chance to explore their potential before placing their products on the shelves of brick-and-mortar shops.

Positive performance of international markets

In the international context – especially in the Asian region – digital shopping worlds are far more developed than in Europe and play an important role there. But even generally, international natural and organic cosmetics markets are performing very well. According to the study “The Global Natural & Organic Cosmetics Market’ 2022” of the specialized British market research firm Ecovia Intelligence, London, global sales of certified natural and organic cosmetics rose by 4.2% to a total equivalent of EUR 12.4 billion in 2021. Worldwide, more than 36,000 products bear the COSMOS und NATRUE labels signifying certified natural and organic cosmetics. According to COSMOS, the international association for natural and organic cosmetics, the strongest growth to date has been registered in Europe, although strong growth has also been seen in Asia. Just the number of COSMOS-certified products increased in Europe by 35% to 29,000 and in Asia by 23% to more than 2,400. In the digital VIVANESS Sneak Preview & Insights in
February 2022, COSMOS CEO Katrin Hochberg explained that many new products certified as natural or organic cosmetics are being brought to market not only in Europe, but particularly in Japan, South Korea, India, South Africa, and Australia. And she sees tremendous potential and growing demand for certified natural and organic cosmetics in the future as well. 

Challenges for the international cosmetics markets

Hochberg explained that the greatest challenge today is to be found in the United States, which accounts for nearly half of global sales, but where the certification level is still very low. In many international markets, however, the availability of raw materials is often a problem that benefits European brands. With regard to the raw materials situation, the growth of certified products is a positive development. More than 12,000 certified products now bear the COSMOS signature. In fact, COSMOS will illuminate precisely this topic in a congress presentation entitled “How are the different regions progressing” at the VIVANESS. “Promising guest presentations from countries such as the United States, India, Korea, Germany, and France will be featured at the congress”, Hochberg noted.

Dr. Mark Smith, President of NATRUE, the second-largest association and certifier of natural and organic cosmetics, is likewise convinced that the growth of the natural and organic cosmetics industry is far from over, although he also points to challenges: “The market for natural and organic cosmetics will continue to grow, but further activities are required to shore up quality standards and ensure better regulation of environmental protection claims such as “natural” and “ecological” in order to prevent contradictions between such claims and consumer expectations.”

“NATRUE has truly found a home at VIVANESS,” Smith continued. “This international trade fair is a key event for us, where we inform the trade community about current trends that affect the cosmetics sector from a technical, regulatory, and/or societal perspective. This event brings stakeholders together to jointly work on current and future issues that relate to the integrity, the future definition, and the future direction of our industry”, said Dr. Mark Smith.