Research Suggest Many Have a Long Way To Go
Claire Rance, head of brand strategy at The Pull Agency, comments: “Sustainability has become a key element of some beauty and personal care brands’ marketing, especially when targeting younger audiences, but this research suggests many of them still have a long way to go. They may also be focusing on behaviours that consumers are reluctant to actually pursue, like returning containers to the manufacturer for refills or recycling.
“It’s an issue where they will have to be more transparent if they don’t want to get left behind – and the fact that so few consumers have even heard of the ‘circular economy’ doesn’t help their cause.”
Small Business Customers Concerns
The study also found that Generation Z is the age group most concerned about animal testing: 21% view it as the biggest challenge facing beauty and personal care, compared to 13% of all consumers. But at the same time, 42% of all shoppers make a point to look for the leaping bunny (cruelty free) kitemark on products.
In addition, it highlighted the importance of recycling: 45% of UK consumers say they look for symbols to show their health and beauty products use recycled materials, and two-thirds (67%) have recycled old packaging from those products themselves.
Other sustainability kitemarks and certifications, however, are less well-known: for example, only 8% of shoppers look for the Soil Association symbol and only 12% look for Ecocert.
There also remains some cynicism in this area among shoppers: half (50%) think their friends and family exaggerate how committed they are to sustainability when it comes buying health and beauty products, rising to 57% among Generation Z.
Nonetheless, even though affordability is the number one factor (57%) affecting which health and beauty and personal care products people choose, 88% of shoppers say they would pay more for products that had genuine sustainability credentials (rising to 90% of Generation Z).
Claire Rance continues: “Consumers are looking for evidence of a sustainable approach, like the leaping bunny, but most of the certifications currently aren’t on shoppers’ radar and it suggests those organisations need to do more work to promote their efforts.
“Beauty and personal care brands have to see sustainability as an opportunity to better connect and engage with their audiences. We’ve all seen how the environment has been positively impacted by the lockdowns and quarantines of 2020, and consumers expect brands to do their utmost to keep things moving in the right direction.”
*Beauty and personal care categories for the purpose of this survey include: Skincare, make up, hair care (shampoo and conditioner), body care & bathing, fragrances/perfume, hair styling, grooming/shaving, at-home hair colourants, sun care & tanning