In an era where consumers have unrestricted access to information and the barriers to product distribution have been significantly lowered, the concept of “natural” is primed to revolutionize the body care industry at an astonishing pace. This impending transformation emphasizes the importance for industry stakeholders to not only adapt to this evolution, but to be at its forefront, facilitating and driving the changing narrative of the body care market.
The body care department is a $59.7B industry, posting healthy 7% growth (+$3.9B) over the previous year. Growth was widespread across all categories, with some segments like cosmetics and beauty (+8%), face care (+11%), and deodorants and antiperspirants (+16%) outpacing the total department growth rate.
Drivers of body care success/growth include how effortlessly consumers can now educate themselves about product formulation, along with the transformation of social media, which has evolved beyond mere connectivity into an accessible educational tool. Influencers have cultivated impactful connections by showcasing their routines and experiences with various products (i.e., body care). The establishment of social media accounts is enabling individuals to offer their viewpoints through compelling visuals, videos, and voiceovers. Influencers and well-informed individuals now offer their insights into the commonly used ingredients in the body care market, steering buyers to seek out ‘better for you’ products.
Natural Growth Like the food and beverage industry, body care consumers are proactively seeking alternatives to products with formulations they deem problematic. With this approach, we are seeing natural body care products excel, posting double-digit growth that outpaces their counterparts. While natural body care products account for a moderate ($4.8B) amount of total body care sales, they contribute far more than their fair share (+19%) towards total department growth.
Category Impact and Performance Natural products have moved beyond their niche origins to become a vital part of retailer offerings. This natural approach is gaining traction across all body care categories, to varying degrees, noted by attributed natural product dollar share. Categories leaning in and capturing a high percent of natural spend include aromatherapy and body oils (36%), soap and bath preparations (16%) and sun and insect protection (14%), to name a few.
While all body care categories include naturally positioned items, some segments’ natural assortments outshined others and contributed more towards total segment growth. The top five categories where their natural offerings accounted for a high share of total incremental sales included shaving and hair removal (+$32M), oral care (+$147M), hair care ($177M) and soap and bath preparations (+$197M).
Lessons Learned The expansion of natural elements from food and beverage to body care follows a historical trend. As natural body care gains momentum, companies must seize this opportunity using lessons from the food and beverage sector. Success lies in building consumer trust through certifications, embracing relatable innovation, and prioritizing product efficacy. The growth of these body care categories can be attributed to brands steering away from potentially harmful chemicals in their products (ex. such as aluminum and sulfates) and producing items in a more ethical way that demonstrates high social and environmental transparency (ex. Certified B Corp). Additionally, brands and retailers introducing assortments that incorporate botanical/plant-based ingredients, known for their soothing (ex. Aloe Vera) and anti-fungal properties, are seeing success.
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