Study: Consumer demand for personal care ingredient information is on the rise

CHICAGO — American women tend to pay more for products with recognizable ingredients as opposed to products that fail to clearly define what they contain, according to a survey released today by Label Insight, a leading SmartLabel solution provider.

More than 1,000 consumers were asked to comment on the importance of ingredients in personal care products, feelings of confusion with personal care product ingredients and labeling and the behavioral effect of this confusion on purchasing behavior. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said they believe it is important or extremely important to consider the ingredients when deciding which products to buy.

Yet, consumers often do not recognize ingredients on labels. Eighty-one percent of those surveyed said they do not recognize ingredients on the label of personal care products at least somewhat often. Only 2% of women said they always understand what all the ingredients are. When buying personal care products, 79% of women said they are at least sometimes confused about ingredients listed on the package label. Of those, 45% are often, very often or almost always confused.

When considering a personal care product to buy, if the ingredients on the label are confusing:

  • 33% of women would not buy the product and look to another product instead.
  • 55% of women would look at another product to see if they understand the ingredients better.
  • 44% of women would research the ingredients on their mobile phone while shopping the aisle.

The study revealed that when consumers don't understand product ingredients, it affects their feelings toward the brand and purchase behavior. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they trust the brand less when they see personal care ingredients they don't recognize or find confusing. When it comes to making a purchase, 61% of women said they are more likely to buy personal care products that contain ingredients they understand or recognize. Fifty-three percent would be willing to switch to a different personal care product if they understood the ingredients in that product better. Forty-nine percent will pay more for a personal care product that contains ingredients they understand or recognize.

When presented with a confusing, but harmless, ingredient, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, 88% were not familiar with it and 49% said they would not be comfortable buying a product that contained it. Once defined as liquid form of vitamin C used in cosmetics and personal care products that enables the vitamin C to penetrate the skin more effectively, there was a 43% increase in those who say they would be "very comfortable" purchasing the product.

"While consumer demand for product transparency in food and beverage has experienced a groundswell, our study shows that interest in transparency for personal care products is also on the rise," said Kira Karapetian, VP of marketing for Label Insight. "Women in particular are concerned about what is in their personal care products — from lotion to shampoo to sunscreen — and will make buying decisions based on ingredient data. It will be important for manufacturers to respond and to provide solutions such as SmartLabel in order to address these demands."

According to Label Insight, SmartLabel gives consumers a way to access more detailed product information about a wide range of food, beverage, household, pet care and personal care products. It shares product data directly from the manufacturer. Consumers can use their smartphones, tablets and desktops to access information, including ingredient definitions and the reason each ingredient is in the product.

Click here for more on the 2017 Ingredient Confusion study.

 

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