Ethical attributes: ‘Vegan’ rising fast in colour cosmetics, says Euromonitor

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Last year, 'vegan' sat in the top three product claims across online cosmetics - just behind 'no parabens' and 'natural' (Getty Images)
Last year, 'vegan' sat in the top three product claims across online cosmetics - just behind 'no parabens' and 'natural' (Getty Images)

Related tags Euromonitor international vegan Colour cosmetics e-commerce cruelty free ethical beauty

Vegan was the third most popular product claim made across online global cosmetics last year, carved out by niche independent beauty brands. And the claim will continue its rise as mass beauty takes it on, says Euromonitor International.

Findings from Euromonitor International’s AI-powered product claims and positioning system that tracked and extracted e-commerce data from 1,500 retailers worldwide, revealed the top product claims made across the entire online fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) category in 2019. For colour cosmetics, ‘no parabens’ was the top claim, made across 2.2% of total online cosmetic SKUs (over 130,000); followed by ‘natural’ made across 2% and ‘vegan’ made across 1.9%. These three top claims featured across more than 5.9 million online cosmetic SKUs worldwide.

‘Hydrating’ and ‘cruelty free’ claims came in fourth and fifth, made across 1.8% and 1.5% SKUs, respectively.

A flourishing vegan cosmetics category?

Gabriella Beckwith, senior analyst for beauty and fashion at Euromonitor International, said ‘vegan’ had secured third spot in the coloured cosmetics charts because of a strong indie brand presence.

“In recent years, the colour cosmetics space has seen an influx of small, fast-growing indie brands entering the market, and these brands are threatening the share of leading global players,”​ Beckwith told CosmeticsDesign-Europe. 

At the same time, she said consumer values continued to shift towards “more meaningful consumption”​ – paving the way for new luxury or premium attributes like ‘natural’ and ‘ethical’ to garner interest, beyond high price and status. And she said ‘vegan’ was just one example of an ethical attribute gathering interest in coloured cosmetics.

“Many of these newer brands entering the market aim to cater towards these shifting values, including vegan, with examples of vegan indie brands including Milk Makeup and Kat von D, while other indie brands such as Glossier and Fenty Beauty have a range of vegan products.”

Hot on the vegan trail – big brands follow, veganism ‘not a fad’

And Beckwith said big cosmetic players were now starting to invest in the vegan colour cosmetics trend.

“Some bigger brands are removing animal-derived ingredients from their products to make them vegan, as this is a way to make their brands more competitive against newer indie brands and also deliver more value that meets consumers’ rising expectations,”​ she said.

In June, last year, cosmetics major Lush even launched vegan and cruelty-free makeup brushes​ – 11 products made from recyclable aluminium, biodegradable, sustainable-sourced wood.

Andrew McDougall, associate director for global beauty and personal care at Mintel, recently said veganism “isn’t going to be a passing fad” ​among consumers,​ rather it was “becoming important for people”.

And for the cosmetics, beauty and personal care industry, McDougall said this created a “challenge going forward”, ​especially given the range of animal-derived ingredients used in formulations, particularly collagen. Though there were some suppliers working to develop alternatives, including Evonik​ and Geltor​ – both of which had recently developed vegan collagen alternatives.

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