Beauty is no longer just skin deep. Latest research from Mintel GNPD Cosmetic Research shows that across Europe over 2,260 ethical cosmetics and skincare products were launched last year alone - an incredible five fold increase on 2006 figures.
And 2008 looks set to be another bumper year for the market, as more than 420 new ethical beauty products have already hit the shop shelves in Europe this year.
Head Consultant of Mintel Beauty and Personal Care, Nica Lewis, said, "Beauty manufacturers are innovating by making their products more compatible with the emerging lifestyle trends of ethical shopping and eco-consciousness.
“They are clearly looking at ways to cut down the amount of packaging they use and are trying to reduce the negative impact production can have on the environment."
Together the UK and France accounted for three-quarters (74%) of all ethical beauty launches in Europe last year, showing just how in touch with the ethical movement these nations are today.
Although cruelty free products, that have not been tested on animals make up the largest group of ethical beauty products, those that highlight their eco-friendly packaging saw by far and away the fastest growth between 2006 and 2007.
Lewis added, "Today manufacturers are focusing more and more on using recyclable packaging or packaging made of recycled materials. The next step will undoubtedly see a move towards products that need hardly any packaging at all."
Making sure that a beauty product has not been tested on animals has been an important factor for many women for years and today around half of women in France (49%) and the UK (51%) say that they look out for this when buying beauty products.
All natural products too have really struck a chord, as this is in fact the number one consideration for French women (51%). Meanwhile, more than two in five (43%) British women also look to go all natural when it comes to their cosmetics and skincare products.
But today there is an ever widening selection of causes and claims made by the beauty industry which continue to capture people's imagination. In the same way that we have seen in food markets, there is now heightened interest in eco-friendly and fair trade beauty products. And it is French women who are again leading the way.
Although, one in five (20%) British women want their beauty products to have packaging that is recyclable, this rises to 25% amongst French women.
And when it comes to fair trade products, French women (16%) are twice as likely as British women (8%) to look for this.
Lewis explains, "We have already seen the no-animal-testing claim go from niche to mainstream over the past two decades.
“Although organic has proved popular in the beauty industry, the current trend for ethical claims on the rise centre around the use of fair trade ingredients and products having recycled and recyclable packaging. All natural will also continue to appeal."
In general, American women seem far less concerned about these issues than their French and British counterparts. Recycling is clearly not a top priority as just 12% of women in the US look for recyclable packaging when buying beauty products.
Meanwhile, fair trade has also not yet really taken off across the Atlantic, with only 5% of women taking this into consideration
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