In June, for example, Unilever announced that its Sustainable Living brands delivered a record 75% of sales growth last year.
“(It is) clear and compelling evidence that brands with purpose grow,” said CEO Alan Jope. “Purpose creates relevance for a brand, it drives talkability, builds penetration and reduces price elasticity.”
Ecovia Intelligence’s Sustainability Summits for home and personal care products took place in New York City earlier this year that highlighted many of the issues and offered ideas for marketers of cosmetics and household cleaners and their suppliers. Author Colin Beavan told the Summit audience that the goal is to find a way of life where one gets to be happy and abundant while having a meaningful, positive impact on the world. Beavan wrote No Impact Man, his one-year experiment to turn off electricity and reduce his environmental footprint. Following the publication of this book and subsequent move, Beavan said he is committed to helping others live and conduct business that is healthier and happier for individuals, society and the world.
According to Ecovia, the North American natural personal care market represents about 5.8% of sales, which translates into $5.3 billion. Consumers are turning to natural and organic products because of concerns about synthetic chemicals in their cosmetics and toiletries. Retailers are responding by expanding their ranges of natural and organic personal care products, with some having dedicated areas for such products. While natural food shops still generate most sales, Ecovia notes that the market share of conventional retailers is increasing with natural and organic personal care products making inroads in specialty personal care stores, department stores, drugstores and supermarkets.
So who’s buying? The youngest demographics! Gen Z consumers, 73%, are most likely to buy organic or natural beauty and personal care products, followed by 70% of Millennials. That’s ahead of Gen X (67%) and Baby Boomers (61%). For Sourabh Sharma, head of digital marketing, FIG or out, it comes as no surprise that Gen Z and Millennials are making the biggest splash in the natural BPC space; after all, taken together they represent more than 50% of the US population. Specifically, there are 65 million Millennials and 80 million Gen Z consumers. But while Millennials have a purchasing power of $600 billions, Gen Z’s purchasing power is just $44 million, according to Sharma. However, they have one thing in common: Millennials and Gen Z expect sustainability to be a value of a company that sells products.
Furthermore, “the brands they choose to bring into their life add to their outlook, opinions and overall personality,” according to Sharma. “Sustainability is a priority across these generations.”
For example, according to the results of a Drapers survey:
• 76% said sustainability is important when shopping;
• 75% pay more for sustainable products;
• 48% abandon purchases if a brand does not fit their values; and
• 46% spend time researching ethical and sustainable brands.
“People do not just buy or use a product, they experience it,” explained Sharma. “By acquiring consumer trust, you are now in an era of marketing experiences.”
A Matter of Trust
And one way to obtain their trust from younger consumers is via influencers. In fact, according to Sharma, just one percent believe in traditional advertising, 94% trust word of mouth and over 90% believe in influencers.
“Thirty-six percent turn exclusively to social media influencers in their decision making,” according to Sharma.
And whereas just 41% of Boomers agree with the statement, “social media significantly influences shopping,” 80% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials agree. For Gen X, that percentage is 58%.
“Identify influencers whose personalities and beliefs are relevant to the brand and who can engage their audiences with trust,” said Sharma.
Of course, it’s not enough to just have a presence on social media, Sharma said that successful beauty brands do two things well on social media:
• Communicate clearly with a cross-platform approach; and
• Incorporate engagement.
“By acquiring consumer trust, you are now in an era of marketing experiences,” Sharma concluded.