Changing attitudes towards health and wellness have been front and centre on a global scale, especially during Covid-19 and an emphasis on personal and environmental health has revealed itself as an upward trend. In the MENA beauty market, this has translated into self-awareness of the Middle Eastern woman when it comes to their own health, the cosmetics they use, and the impact these have on their wellbeing and that of the planet.
The last 18 months have pushed many consumers to start asking questions about the products they are consuming and applying to their skin. What are the ingredients used in these formulations, how they are sourced and being made and more importantly, whether these products will cause harm to their general health and the planet through long-term use?
As a result of changing attitudes, ‘green beauty’ or sustainable beauty has emerged as a new category predicted to dominate the overall cosmetics industry. This growing awareness has led to a drastic surge in natural cosmetic sales, which according to TechSci research will turn the Middle East and African regions into a $5 billion market by 2022 and a $48.04 billion market globally by 2025.
But, what is driving the rapid demand for green products and sustainability?
Namely Millennials and Gen-Z. These generations are highly connected and technologically savvy making them hyper-aware of the world’s issues. The ethical concerns they have reflects greatly on the products they consume, and there’s a clear preference for businesses and brands that are socially and environmentally responsible. In fact, 80 per cent of Western female teens are willing to spend more for clean beauty according to DECA.
This Western influence has made its way to the Middle Eastern market and is quickly driving real and actionable change in buying behaviour. Now, it would serve Middle Eastern retailers to meet this rising demand in the region and make space on their shelves for the ‘green beauty’ trend that is here to stay.
Retailers react to sustainable beauty
The green beauty movement in the time of a global pandemic means consumers are searching for holistic solutions for improved wellbeing across the mind, body, and spirit. It’s up to retailers to meet the need by offering a greater focus on customer needs and their connection with firm sustainability-focused brand values at the centre of its offering.
Sustainable beauty is also about transparency and ethical behaviour of the brand in its operations and manufacturing practices, to ensure minimal impact on the environment. During the pandemic, consumers started having a better understanding of a brand’s impact on the environment based on the products they stock, with 56.4 per cent of respondents in a 2020 survey by King Faisal’s University stating they prefer to use organic beauty products and understand these are better for the environment, stating they had a higher awareness of their impact.
While some conservative and risk-averse retailers remain unmoved and are sticking to traditional cosmetics to minimise the risk of financial losses, others in the MENA region have already started promoting clean beauty and taking on brands with a commitment to providing safer alternatives. Liht Organics is one of the first organic brands to pave the way in the region and is already available here in the Middle East with some forward-thinking retailers making space for them in their stores.
In the global market, consumers are willing to pay a premium for a holistic solution and it can’t be more evident in the market’s continued growth. Despite the higher price tag that comes with such products, it’s of minor concern to millennial consumers who have high purchasing power and are willing to pay an average of 18 per cent more for natural beauty products according to AlixPartners if it means they can have peace of mind when using the products.
Green beauty represents the next phase for the industry and it’s not just a marketing ploy to connect with consumers. In a post-Covid world, consumers will continue to value health, wellness, and be socially and ethically responsible. Brands that make this part of their strategy will be able to win over and retain new clientele and allow their businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic world.