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How indie beauty brands can meet consumer expectations in a post Covid era

As a result of greater environmental awareness and focus on their health and wellness, today’s consumers are spending more time researching the products and brands that align with their holistic lifestyle. They demand brands to be accountable with greater transparency related to ingredient sourcing and manufacturing practices. In order to gain the essential long-term trust, thus loyalty, of consumers, it is crucial for Indie Beauty Brands to be value-driven organizations and comprise tangible proof of a real commitment to them. Below, we highlight key consumer expectations for Indie Beauty Brands in the upcoming post-covid era. 

1. Botanicals and Naturality
The demand for natural cosmetics has experienced a drastic increase in recent years, and even more so recently, but consumers today look also for more than just a product of natural origin. They demand naturality, a holistic approach in how the ingredients are sourced and produced as well as how the cosmetic product is manufactured. 
To guarantee a true naturality claim to consumers, it is very important to trace back everything from the final product to the seed and focus on two main critical areas:
- Optimal selection of plant extracts with high concentration of active molecules
- Use of both natural extracts and natural formulation ingredients

2. Clean Beauty
At its core, Clean Beauty is about safety for human health, which of course is a must and regulations around the world state it. Moreover, Clean Beauty is about safety beyond regulatory requirements. It is about the precautionary principle and concerns for controversial ingredients. 

This particularly resonated in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. With consumers now prioritizing credentials such as safety, sustainability and full transparency, the Clean Beauty movement has been embraced by many brands and retailers alike, each one developing their standard, often with no-no lists. The general agreement seems to imply that a clean beauty product has been developed with a heightened sense of safety for consumers. 

3. Responsible Sourcing
Consumers are gravitating towards value-driven brands with environmental and social stewardship. Thus, it is crucial for brands to implement an eco-conception approach at every step of the development and production process, and that includes sourcing. “Because we take from nature, we must work to preserve and protect it”.1 This new vision is what has fostered many brands to implement new eco-conscious sourcing processes and move towards more sustainable solutions:
- Upcycling: a process where by-products or discarded materials are transformed into new products of higher value. In the cosmetic industry, food waste is a rich source of raw materials that can be valorized into new ingredients with effective properties for the skin. Upcycling offers many economic and environmental benefits including the decrease in the negative impact that food waste may have on the environment and the decrease in carbon and water footprint, while supporting local communities.
- Biodiversity Preservation: The scientific community indicates that due to human influences, species are becoming extinct at up to 1,000 times the rate the natural conditions would cause.2 95% of consumers believe their personal actions could help reduce unsustainable waste and protect wildlife and biodiversity.3 Consumers are likely to start selecting brands that show effective actions towards biodiversity preservation.
- Ethical Sourcing: Social and ethical responsibility is a key aspect of natural ingredient sustainability. 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for brands that are committed to a positive social and environmental impact.4 Brands must focus on specific concerns such as Fair Trade, traditional culture protection, fair wages, and community development programs.

4. Innovation

With so many brands emerging and nowadays nonstop product launches, companies need to be agile, adapt fast to market changes and have a holistic approach to meet consumers demand and their heightened awareness about what they want. 

Today, innovation has become a fast-paced process in the cosmetic industry. A few trends, that have now become preeminent, include multi-tasking skincare, an all-natural approach to products, eco-conscious sourcing and manufacturing processes, and diversity-minded skincare. Another growing area is vegan beauty, which is expected to grow to over $20 billion by 2027.5 Consumers now look for products that are efficient and safe for their skin, but also for the eco-systems, i.e. animals and the planet.

Creativity in the beauty industry will continue to expand and it is therefore crucial for brands to stay up to date with consumer demand and facilitate their purchase decisions to help them reach their holistic goals. 

5. Certifications
Consumers are now more than ever conscious of what they want to put on and into their bodies. And although efficacy remains vital, the demand for transparency continues to grow. In fact, 66% of consumers stated that they are more likely to choose a brand if it is transparent.6

But even though more and more consumers are drawn to natural, organic and sustainable brands, this does not mean they will blindingly purchase from them. Today’s consumers demand proof, and this is where certifications come into play. Greenwashing days are over. There are several well-recognized certification bodies available to help ensure that the claims presented to consumers are validated such as Ecocert COSMOS Certified, Certified Vegan, UEBT, ISO 22716 for Good Manufacturing Practices and EcoVadis.

With more and more ways for consumers of being informed, brands need to be agile and adapt swiftly in order to strive in a fast-paced post-covid environment where trust is the new currency.


References:
1. Burt’s Bees. (2021). Impact 2020 + 2025 Impact Vision. 
2. Global assessment on biodiversity (2019). Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report.
3. Sustainability matters now more than ever for consumer companies (2020). Boston Consulting Group.
4. Creating a more beautiful world – Sustainability report. Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) 2019.
5. HAPPI. (2021, June 21). Vegan Beauty and Wellness Boutique Opens In Boca Raton.
6. Accenture. (2021). From Me to We: The Rise of the Purpose-Led Brand.


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