Natural and organic cosmetics in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

In recent years, there has been growing awareness of the potential harmful side-effects of the artificial ingredients used in beauty products. This has led many consumers to turn to so-called green cosmetics, in order to find products which pose a lesser risk to the skin, as well as to the environment. As a result, the global market for natural cosmetics has seen consistent growth over the last ten years, reaching a value of approximately 14.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. The size of this market is expected to continue to increase in following years, rising to 21.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.

In the United Kingdom (UK), product claims such as ‘cruelty free’, ‘natural ingredients’ and ‘without preservatives’ are among those most looked for by consumers when purchasing within the beauty and personal care category. The increasing demand for such products has been reflected in sales, which, similar to on a global scale, have been growing considerably in recent years. In 2016, sales of ethical cosmetics in the UK reached 721 million British pounds, while the value accumulated from the sale of organic health and beauty products amounted to 61.2 million British pounds. Overall, however, only a small minority of beauty shoppers only buy organic cosmetics, while 37 percent buy them occasionally and 54 percent do not buy them at all.

When asked what factors they associate with natural and organic cosmetics, UK consumers said they anticipate such products to have no chemical ingredients, GMOs or ingredients of animal origin and to have not been tested on or be harmful to animals. Such expectations have led to concerns about potential misuse of the terms ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ on beauty product labels. According to a 2017 survey, 77 percent of consumers said they would lose trust in a brand if they found out that a product with a label saying organic was not certified and would not meet organic standards. Around 64 percent said they would lose trust in the respective retailer.

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