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The cosmetics consumer is driving the development of active ingredients, according to a report by Kline & Co. “Activism: Does the Consumer Drive Actives Development?,” a report by Nikola Matic, suggests that informed consumers are increasing the development and marketing of actives in cosmetic products. While these actives are particulary popular in anti-aging skin care, they are also seeing growth in male grooming, hair care and natural personal care.
This desire for actives reportedly is fueled by consumers seeking visible results. The past decade has seen the emergence of the more aware consumer. “Label reading” is no longer the exception and, coupled with easy access to information, consumers are making more educated choices. Clever marketing can certainly draw consumer’s attention, but ultimately a product has to deliver.
Although consumer knowledge has opened doors to innovative formulating, it has also endangered the use of commonly used ingredients such as silicones or parabens, which have been subject of media hype. However, ingredients positively hyped by the media, including vitamins, collagen, co-enzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid are increasing in popularity.
Until recently, higher-end actives were predominantly exclusive to luxury channel products, according to the report. However, otherwise costly specialty actives are now appearing in more affordable product formulations due to a differentiating consumer. Therefore, specialty active suppliers are encouraged to think beyond the claimed performance of their active ingredients and focus on the price/efficacy ratio of their products to satisfy the demands of affordable cosmetic manufacturers. The premium pricing that they may lose is compensated by greater demand and greater volumes.
In addition to skin care, specialty actives are also being used in hair care, male grooming products, slimming formulations and sun protection. Hair care actives, predominantly proteins and their hydrolyzates, follow skin care actives with sales accounting for 15.7% of the total US and 9.1% of European market. The male grooming market is growing in Europe and the United States. While cleansers and moisturizers are the biggest movers, consumption of functional anti-aging products is also growing. This trend has prompted specialty actives suppliers to develop dedicated product ranges.
Consumer awareness of health, environmental and sustainability concerns has been driving the active ingredients market for over a decade. The market for natural personal care products has posted double digit growth since 2006. Specialty actives suppliers have accommodated this growth by developing natural-sourced actives, and eco-certifying some of their products for the needs of natural brands. This has also resulted in the rapid growth of the botanical actives segment with an estimated CAGR of 4% expected in the United States by 2015, and 5% in Europe during the same period. Natural product consumers are looking for the same efficacy found in non-natural cosmetic products. Consequently, formulators are increasingly seeking to use botanicals as substantiated functional ingredients. Natural-sourced biotechnology products are also benefiting from the naturals growth, while biotechs are crucially considered as natural by consumers and they often offer equally desirous high efficacy. This is borne out by biotech active ingredients enjoying a similarly healthy growth rate to substantiated botanical actives.