I. Vegetarian beauty: vegan cosmetics
- Vegan cosmetics refer to products that does not contain ingredients from animals. The term came to incorporate the idea of eco-friendliness as well as non-toxic ingredients.
- According to Grand View Research, the global vegan cosmetics market is estimated at $12.9 billion as of 2017. This is about 3% of the total cosmetics market. Although the absolute size is still small, the growth potential is high with a great number of new brands entering the market.
- At the beginning vegan cosmetics were mostly skincare, but we are seeing more and more color cosmetics products these days.
Figure1. Composition of global cosmetics market by type(2017)
Figure2. Global vegan beauty market size forecast
II. Why is this a trend?
- According to an English market research institution Technavio, the vegan cosmetics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% for the next five years.
- The biggest growth factor of vegan beauty is consumers’ consciousness on ingredients. Massive use of animal derived ingredients may lead to a break in balance of ecosystem, and since they require more complicated process, more chemicals are necessary. On the contrary, vegetarian, or non-animal based, ingredients are less susceptible to allergies and contribute less to pollute the environment. For these reasons the demand for vegan beauty is expected to grow in the following years.
- Vegan products are actively sold through online rather than conventional retail platforms such as department stores or H&B stores. This is part of the reasons why vegan beauty market is growing fast.
- At the beginning the market was dominated by several major players, but now we are seeing more new brands entering the playing field.
III. How global vegan brands appeal to consumers?
- Pursuit of ‘ethical consumerism’: Vegan products are not only made of non-toxic ingredients, but usually they also adopt minimal packaging so that the environment is less damaged. Thus, consumers feel good about themselves pursuing ethical consumerism.
- Support for local / startup business: In traditional beauty industry, big corporations had absolute advantage since they can use massive capital to invest in marketing. However, since vegan brands promote themselves through online they relatively have a level playing field. Small and lean organization are even more effective in communicating with consumers, and consumers in turn support the growth of these small businesses.
IV. Locals are getting used to vegan color cosmetics
- If we search ‘素(vegetarian)’ in MeasureChina lite version, the keyword with the highest relevance is ‘成分(ingredients).’ From this we can see that locals are also aware of vegan beauty and cosmetics ingredients.
Table1. Related keyword for ‘素(vegetarian)’
- The graph below shows the performance of major vegan brands in the local market. One thing to note is that most of them are color cosmetics brands, especially eyes and lips. Chinese locals are aware of vegan cosmetics and they tend to link the concept with skincare, but actual revenues are generated in color cosmetics segment.
Figure3. Monthly sales trend of major vegan brands in Taobao/Tmall
- Therefore, it is too early to say that vegan beauty is a well-known concept in China. However, with the help of fast-paced e-commerce, we expect the vegan beauty to settle deeply in China once the idea of ethical consumerism starts to spread.