China is losing out on the natural and organic cosmetics market, says expert

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

China is losing out on the natural and organic cosmetics market, says expert
Animal testing requirements are continuing to hamper growth in the market for natural and organic cosmetics in China, says market research company Organic Monitor.

The company’s latest market research indicates China’s market growth rates in the category are declining because of the complexities of regulation requirements, the fact that animal testing goes against consumer values in this category, and also specific formulation challenges.

The specifics of the research outline that western natural and organic brands have withdrawn from the markets because of animal testing requirements. This is because having any kind of link to animal testing, anywhere in the world, would be too damaging to the brands.

Weleda and Pangea Organic lead the China protest

Indeed, brands such as Weleda, Lavera, Pangea Organic, Logona and Juice Beauty have been demonstrative about their opposition to the animal testing requirements, withdrawing their brands from the China market in protest.

The Body Shop has also shown high profile opposition to the requirement, but was caught with egg on its face when the company was found to be selling cosmetics in duty-free shops in airports across the country, later claiming that a loophole enabled it to sell there without having to conduct testing.

In the Asia Pacific region as a whole, growth in the natural and organic cosmetics market is currently running at around 15%, but in China this is failing to materialize because of both product availability bought on by both the international brands boycotting the market, together with formulation and ingredient issues.

Low availability holds back sales

Organic Monitor explains that low availability of certified organic ingredients and natural extracts is the problem, because they are mainly imported into China.

This particular problem is being further compounded by the fact that there is limited technical expertise in the product development area, especially when it comes to ensuring that synthetic materials do not appear in formulations.

Elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region, particularly in India, Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong, Organic Monitor notes that other markets are benefiting from the ‘boycott China’ campaign, with clear spikes in natural and organic cosmetics sales emphasizing this point.

In particular, it is Hong Kong that is benefiting most from its neighbour’s animal testing regulations, underlined by the fact that on average 20 new natural and organic cosmetic brands are being launched there every year, leading to one of the highest concentrations for this category in the world.

During the forthcoming Sustainable Cosmetics Summit​, to be held in Hong Kong, 10 -11 November, experts from Organic Monitor, together with an extensive list of guest speakers, will be sharing vital information concerning both the marketing, regulatory and technical aspects for the natural and organic cosmetics category in China and the Asia Pacific region.

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