UK organic wellness and beauty sector delivered 6.8% growth in 2022 despite cost of living squeeze 

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Against a backdrop of war, political upheaval and a dramatic squeeze on household spending the UK organic beauty and wellness market grew by 6.8% in 2022 to be worth £147.63 million.

The figures are contained in the 2023 Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market Report, published this week by the Soil Association. 

The organic charity says that last year’s performance, though down on the high growth rates of the previous three years (+23%, +13% and +15% in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively), demonstrate the sector’s “relative recession resistance” and the scope for organic beauty and wellness bands to rebuild lost sales as the cost-of-living crisis abates. 

Ethical commitment holds steady
Thee new report shows that consumer commitment to more ethical and environmental solutions remains solid, with over half of British consumers saying that they believe the actions and choices they make can be a positive force for change, with 53% agreeing that “if we act now, we can save the planet”. 

It was however a mixed picture for organic beauty and wellness brands. There were multiple reports of double-digit sales decreases, with smaller brands and start-ups generally hit hardest by the tough trading conditions. But some brands showed moderate or even strong growth during what was a highly challenging year. And despite the difficulties, nearly half the brands surveyed by the Soil Association for the report are predicting a return to double-digit growth in 2023. 

Power of certification 
Greenwashing has been a major concern for certified organic beauty brands. But rising consumer awareness of the issue is demonstrating the power of certification as a “tool to cut through the greenwashing”. 41% of consumers stated that they would be encouraged to purchase a beauty or wellbeing product if it had recognisable third-party certification proving its sustainability credentials, the report finds. 

The value of third party certification – such as COSMOS Organic certification (and Soil Association Organic certification for non-cosmetics) – is further emphasised by the fact that 79% of consumers say they doubt the trustworthiness of a brand’s own claims concerning sustainability or social impact. 

Commenting on the report’s findings Alex Cullen, Soil Association Certification marketing director, says: “Consumer appetite for sustainable and clean beauty solutions shows no sign of slowing down with the market nearly doubling in the last five years. The rapid market growth is an indication of the level of innovation in the sector, as the beauty industry continues to clean up its act, across harmful chemicals, microplastics and single-use packaging. Organic beauty and wellbeing offers a certified and trusted solution for consumers to navigate this space, and will only further its position as a source of trends. The experiential and storytelling nature of the category has power as a bigger changemaker, in engaging consumers with the wider benefits of organic, as a standard for sustainable food and farming.”

Download the 2023 Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Market Report free here

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