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Natural cosmetics market: signs of rapid growth continuing

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

The fourth Natural Cosmetics Conference will take place for the first time in Berlin on 20 and 21 September 2011. Another first will be the natural cosmetics trend tour of the capital on the day before. In the following interview, the organizer Elfriede Dambacher (picture) assesses the current development of the market, points out some important trends and goes into the highlights of the programme. The former programme director now has the role of organizer in the capital; NürnbergMesse, that took charge of the event on three occasions, has become a cooperation partner.
Mrs Dambacher, what are you hoping for from the new Conference location in Berlin - why the change?

Like no other city in Germany, Berlin holds up a mirror to current trends. With the move of the Conference to the capital, we’re getting close to the cosmetics, lifestyle and fashion hotspots and are sending a signal to the whole cosmetics industry. Both NürnbergMesse and I are convinced that Berlin is a splendid choice. To benefit from synergies, the jobs of organization and programme management have been merged. There’s also the point that, as someone who used to live in Berlin, I’ve been familiar with the natural cosmetics scene there from the outset. I’m especially pleased that, among other things, we’ll be visiting the roots of the natural cosmetics industry in Berlin when we go on the trend tour on Monday. It was here in 1984 that my professional interest in natural cosmetics started with the launch of the natural cosmetics shop Belladonna.

A hefty increase of 11 % in the natural cosmetics market (+78 million euros to 795 million) and a further rise in customer reach means that last year natural cosmetics were clearly the driving force in the market. What are your expectations for 2011? What trend is emerging and what are the influencing factors?

We’re seeing a continuation of the positive development in 2010. At the end of the year, we’ll have a growth rate that’s just as high. Growth will be very high in some sales channels in particular, namely the perfumery and drugstore market. One reason for this is the launch of a number of new products for the mass market, which means that volumes in the total natural cosmetics market are expanding significantly. Another factor is the vast number of international quality brands entering the German market and seeking a sales channel. Overall, international brands are an important stimulus to the market. For example, there are high-value products from Asia, New Zealand and the USA. Nevertheless, good classic natural cosmetics brands are more than holding their own in the traditional marketing channels. However, in 2011, more than ever before, they are being subjected to increased competition.

It’s not just the German market that’s growing. Which countries do you see as having good development prospects – is the Conference willing to look at the wider world?

Of course we are. Our task is to create a picture of the market as a whole and to present the trends occurring in the most important markets so that we get a wider view. Our intention in doing this is to provide as much deep insight into markets as possible in order to create a solid platform for corporate decision making. The interest in this year’s Natural Cosmetics Conference is much more international than in previous years, which corroborates the view that the market can no longer be seen in the narrow confines of single marketing channels and individual countries. The decision-makers have to see the whole picture if they want to be successful players at the international level. We’ve got contributions from practically all the key markets ranging from Brazil and the USA to Europe, including France, Great Britain and Scandinavia.

At the moment, greenwashing is again being discussed intensively. Can natural cosmetics defend its positive image?

The determining factors in the growth of the natural cosmetics market in 2011 are the growth of own brands and the product launches by the big brand manufacturers in the cosmetics industry. The natural-based cosmetics market is also registering significant growth. Launching natural-based products means the cosmetics market is becoming greener overall. It’s a sign that the cosmetics industry is reacting to the success story of natural cosmetics and is exploring just how much greenwashing its brands can take. The fact is that brands with a lot of influence that put ‘greener’ products on the market are accepted by many consumers. This leads you to conclude that brands enjoying the trust of consumers can even be strengthened by a trend like greenwashing. I don’t see the positive image of the classic natural cosmetics manufacturers being put at risk by greenwashing. We do, however, have to try harder to clearly differentiate between genuine natural cosmetics and natural-based products, that are often referred to as pseudo-natural cosmetics. What are the marketing concepts that work well? The key factors in the success of brands are positioning and, more important than ever, the coherence of market presentation and sales policy. Many natural cosmetics manufacturers have been concentrating on research and development, and their focus has been the ingredients in their products, and this means that, to a large extent, they have lost sight of their customers. For many years, they have paid less attention to communication and telling people about the advantages. We’ve put together an exciting discussion panel to address this issue.

Would you please identify for us some of the highlights of the Conference.

First of all, we’re delighted to have got many very interesting international speakers, with Horst M. Rechelbacher – the founder of Aveda Intelligent Nutrients – as our keynote speaker. He will tell us about the trends and the challenges in the US American market. As I mentioned before, we’re particularly concerned to shift the focus onto the consumer. In the discussion forum on Tuesday afternoon, representatives of the media and consumer protection and experts will explore the following questions: How do we reach consumers? What can be communicated? How can the complexity of manufacturing natural cosmetics products be made more transparent? What really does go down well with consumers? The aim of the discussion panel is to clarify how the customer of today gets information, what role the media play, and to consider the current sustainability debate and social media. On the second day of the Conference, the programme deals with the perspective of the customer again, this time regarding the retail trade. Behind Retail Branding lurk issues of positioning of the retail trade. What does the retail trade need in order to become the authentic location where customer and product meet? People promoting quite diverse concepts will discuss the ways they appeal to their target groups. I’d like to make special mention of our guest speaker from Whole Foods Market in London, who will give us an insight into the natural cosmetics strategy of the biggest wholefood and natural cosmetics retailer in the world.

Mrs Dambacher, many thanks for this interview.

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