Deciding Factors in Natural Cosmetics Purchases
Which criteria do consumers use to select natural and organic cosmetics? That is the question addressed in a study by the natural cosmetics label Natrue. The study asked users in France and Germany about their approach to this product category and their feelings about brands and labels when choosing products.
According to the study, in the past six months, four out of ten Germans and three out of ten French people have used natural or organic cosmetics. However, they said that labels had not guided them sufficiently when making their selection. In Germany, 61 per cent and in France, 71 per cent of the respondents stated that the label did not clearly indicate whether a product was natural or organic.
"Naturalness" Trumps Effectiveness
Both consumer groups cited "naturalness" as the most important criteria for the purchase decision (20 per cent in Germany/24 per cent in France). Next comes "skin compatibility" (19 per cent in both Germany and France) and only then the effect of the product (17 per cent in Germany/16 per cent in France).
What consumers actually consider to be "natural" differed in both markets. German participants mainly chose animal welfare (8.4 out of 10 points), no microplastics (7.9 out of 10 points) and "100 per cent natural and organic ingredients" (6.4 out of 10 points) from the given definitions to describe the products. The French participants in the study had a different perspective. Here, the most important criterion for "naturalness" was the natural origin of the ingredients (9.6 out of 10 points). This is followed by animal welfare (8.4 out of 10 points) and the absence of ingredients of animal origin (7.1 out of 10 points).
"Natural" vs. "Inspired by Nature"
The study also highlighted the issue of brand awareness and greenwashing. Participants were asked to what extent they distinguished between "natural" and "nature-inspired" products. According to the authors of the study, this clear distinction does not seem to be generally known. While German consumers claim to be able to distinguish between cosmetics of both categories, French consumers buy more than twice as many "nature-inspired" products as natural ones, reports the study. They also consider nature-inspired products to be more positive and natural. This leads Natrue to conclude that in the German market these cosmetics are viewed in a more discerning way and are more likely to be classified as greenwashing.
Source: Natrue, photo: Adobe Stock / Robert Kneschke