Natural cosmetics sales jump sharply in France

Nearly 60% of French women have bought natural or organic beauty in the last year

Sales of natural cosmetics in France are sharply on the rise, according to a study by market researcher Ifop for beauty box provider Nuoobox, with 58% of French women saying they have bought natural or organic cosmetics or hygiene products in the past year. However, consumers still remain uncertain about product labelling and standards. 

Previous French studies have shown women in the higher socio-professional bands to be the main buyers of organic cosmetics but this effect appears to be lessening, said Laure Friscourt, director of Ifop’s beauty and broad purchase division, about the findings. 

“Today, natural and organic products are increasingly [purchased by] all social classes and ages,” she said. “The barrier between the different socio-professionals is disappearing but we also note that ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ are two notions that still merge in the minds of consumers, who are in need of clarification.”

The study, which took place via online questionnaire between 06 and 10 September this year, used a sample of 1,047 women representative of the population and aged 18 and over. It found that 75% had bought at least one organic cosmetics product, with the three favourite categories being facial hygiene, body care and facial care.

When it comes to reasons for buying, 64% of respondents said it was to take care of their body, 56% to preserve the environment and 60% to use effective products, while the main deterrents to purchase were price (63%), lack of guarantees about the product’s naturalness (46%), product ineffectiveness (40%) and lack of confidence about the ‘AB’ (organic) label (40%). 

Friscourt also noted that the organic market is being boosted by the arrival of many small, independent brands, whose internet-only distribution model makes them more agile and less costly than bricks-and-mortar brands. 

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