Cruelty-free claims have increased exponentially on beauty products over the last two years as the EU ban on animal testing edges ever closer.
The frequency of ethical claims related to animals on newly launched beauty products increased six-fold globally between the beginning of 2006 and the end of last year, according to figures from Mintel's Global New Products Database GNPD.
Animal testing claims also accounted for the bulk of the almost 10,000 beauty products with ethical claims that were rolled-out on the global market in this period.
Beauty analyst Nica Lewis told CosmeticsDesign.com that the growth in animal testing claims is largely due to the upcoming EU deadline and the UK voluntary ban.
Ethical consumerism and increased public concern about the use of animals in laboratory tests have also driven the growth of cruelty-free cosmetics.
Rebecca Ram, spokesperson for the BUAV, which launched the Humane Cosmetics Standard in 1998, told CosmeticsDeisgn.com that interest in cruelty-free claims has snowballed.
Ram said: "As animal testing claims appear on more and more products, customers start looking for them, persuading more companies to join the movement."
Interest in the Humane Cosmetics Standard, which requires companies to remove animal testing from their entire supply chain, has increased sharply in recent years, added Ram.
She said companies can gain a marketing advantage by adhering to the full 2013 EU ban on animal testing before it comes into force.
On a geographical level animal welfare has a high level of support in the UK and the US. Here cruelty-free cosmetics are most popular while in continental Europe, Asia and Australasia interest is less significant although awareness is growing steadily, added Ram.
Animal testing is one of a number of ethical concerns that are becoming increasingly important to the beauty consumer.
Environmentally friendly products and packaging, fair trade and charity are the other ethical claims that appear in around 7 per cent of the total number of beauty launches between 2006 and 2007, according to Mintel.