Cosmetics shoppers prefer brand names over natural ingredients

CHICAGO Opportunities exist for retailers and manufacturers when it comes to organic and natural products, as many cosmetic shoppers said they believe cosmetics are safe when they are free of "negative" ingredients; however, shoppers still want more education on organic and natural claims to justify paying the higher price, according to a recent study.

The U.S. study by market research firm Kairos Consumers found that consumers buying organic and natural cosmetics admitted they don't know a great deal about what constitutes an organic or a natural product. When asked what makes a natural or organic product appealing to them, shoppers said safety and the absence of such "negative" ingredients as parabens, dyes and chemicals.

However, consumers do place a great importance on a brand's reputation, which makes brand familiarity an important influencer. Consumers seem to know and understand conventional cosmetic claims or be more familiar with brand names, so they tend to favor buying them compared with products labeled "organic" or "natural," according to the study, which included store audits and focus groups.

"Enormous opportunity exists for both manufacturers and retailers with established brands in organics or naturals, as consumers place great importance on familiar names. Smaller, lesser-known brands can also succeed by educating organic shoppers about the effectiveness of organic and natural ingredients, as many consumers in the study indicated a desire for this information," stated Betsy Hoag, Kairos Consumers co-founder.

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