ast year, it was electric-colored eyeshadow
and bright berry lips. This year, it’s thick
black eyeliner and metallic gold highlighters.
When it comes to cosmetics, style seems to
evolve as fast as the seasons change, making it di;cult for
retailers to distinguish a ;eeting fad from a solid staple in
the beauty industry at large.
In fact, trends steer the beauty industry more than
nearly any other fast-moving consumer goods sector,
according to research ;rm Nielsen. For retailers, the key
is to identify ties between current micro-trends and overarching consumer demands to ensure con;dence in the
beauty products they stock. By examining consumers’
steady shifts in food preferences—which are increasingly
veering toward products with natural, free-from and
transparency claims—retailers can expect the same shifts
to be applicable in the cosmetics category.
What Defines Natural?
From meat and produce to packaged snacks and beverages, the word “natural” has become a mainstay across
the grocery industry, and cosmetics are no exception.
However, the market saturation of products with natural claims has caused consumer confusion—and perhaps
some skepticism—around what that claim really means,
resulting in sales declines.
According to Nielsen’s recent Future of Beauty report,
growth based simply on natural product claims is starting
to slow. Sales of the overall cosmetics category declined
about ;; over the last year, and sales of natural cosmetics
underperformed the category as a whole, declining ;.;;.
However, the trend toward natural remains: Products featuring natural claims represented ;.;; of the U. S. personal
care market, generating ;;.; billion in annual sales in ;;;;,
an increase from ;.;; of the market in ;;;;, per the report.
Today, health has become inclusive of what consum-
ers put both in and on their bodies, and the de;nition of
natural can vary from shopper to shopper, according to
Jordan Rost, VP of consumer insights for Nielsen. “Cos-
metics aisles are crowded,” he says. “Brands can no lon-
ger simply claim to be natural. They have to prove it with
the simplest products, with only the right ingredients.”
Today’s transparency-minded shoppers seek speci;c
and functional beauty products, and consumers are
increasingly de;ning natural beauty by the ingredients
that are not found in those products. According to Niel-
sen’s report, ;;; of FMCG consumers say the absence
of undesirable ingredients, such as parabens, is more
important than the inclusion of bene;cial ones. In fact,
sales of cosmetics free from parabens have grown ;.;;,
says Rost, while sales of those that are both free from par-
abens and have natural claims are growing ;;;.
Cross-Merchandising With Familiar Products
Retailers can appease health-conscious consumers and
increase beauty sales by o;ering cosmetics with natural and
free-from claims, such as eye and lip products, which are
particularly poised for growth: ;;; and ;;; of eye and lip
cosmetics, respectively, are paraben-free, per Nielsen data.
“We add natural and organic skincare and beauty
items when they ;rst hit the market,” says Denise Braby,
director of home, health, beauty, ;oral and nonfoods at
;;-store Harmons Grocery, based in West Valley City,
Utah. “People care more than ever about the ingredients
of what they’re putting on their skin.”
To draw new consumers to the cosmetics aisle, retail-
ers can cross-merchandise these products alongside food
items with similar and familiar ingredients that align with
their healthy lifestyles. “Many trend ingredients across
beauty and personal care are starting as food ingredi-
ents and making their way into cosmetics, skin care and
Retailers are primping their cosmetics aisles
with natural products and in-store experts to
beautify shopper experiences. By Natalie Taylor
Amount of FMCG
say the absence
ingredients is more
important than the