Package This: Beauty Consumers Favor ‘Cruelty Free’ and ‘Natural’ Product Claims
For consumers of beauty products, labels are an important way of discerning which items to buy, and for addressing a wide variety of consumer concerns. A Neilsen poll shows that purchasing products that are “not tested on animals” is important for a majority of beauty product consumers, and labels are the primary method of finding out this information. However, there is some discrepancy between the number of consumers who consider animal welfare important, and those that are willing to pay extra for cruelty-free products.
There are numerous buzzwords used in marketing and on packaging to lure in consumers with the latest must-have item. Phrases such as “Anti-Aging” and “Organic,” among others, make shopping for beauty products more complicated, and understanding the claims on packaging can be almost impossible. A Neilsen poll studied more than 1000 adults across a range of ages to see which claims on the packaging of beauty products are the most important for consumers.
The good news is the finding that “when it comes to claims in the beauty aisle, consumers appear most invested in animal welfare, as ‘not tested on animals’ was the most important packaging claim among those surveyed (57%).” The poll found that Sun Protection Factor (SPF) was a close second (56%), while “all natural” came in third (53%). Indeed, “natural” and “organic” beauty products continue to grown in popularity, increasing in market share each year. However, there is a discrepancy in the pro-animal findings: “While the ‘not tested on animals’ claim took the No. 1 spot in terms of importance (among 57% of respondents), only 43% of respondents said they’d be willing to pay more for beauty products that aren’t tested on animals. When it’s time to open our wallets, respondents said they’re most willing to pay a premium for ‘all-natural’ beauty products.” When comparing the findings for the product claims that the public feel are most “important” vs. the claims that consumers are willing to pay for, the top five remain the same for both questions. But the order of importance, however, is not.
According to Neilsen, customers are looking for “familiarity and clarity” in language, and marketers should be aware that in the beauty industry, the method of production and key ingredients “drive consumption.” For advocates, knowing that consumers value “all natural” products over cruelty free claims could be an important piece of information. Correctly promoting vegan products that are also naturally produced could both attract consumers and help animals at the same time. The study closes by driving the point about clarity home: “given the small labels on most beauty products, getting it right and using easily understandable language is salient to increasing sales.”
Read any good labels lately? Maybe these look familiar: “Moisturizing.” “Anti-Aging.” “Organic.” With the bevy of buzzwords trolling the beauty aisle, choice and variety can make it complicated for shoppers to zero in on just the right product. It can also be tough for brands to know which messages and claims matter most to consumers—especially as we’re seeing an increase in labels like “all natural” that are crossing over from the food aisles. So which messages do resonate? To find out, given the breadth of time and money retailers and manufacturers spend on beauty brands, Nielsen recently conducted an English-language beauty product claim survey of more than 1,000 adults: 37% were Millennials (age 19-34), 29% were from Generation X, 24% were Baby Boomers, 5% were from the Greatest Generation (age 69+) and 5% were from Generation Z (age 18 or younger).