While 2020 saw significant market changes and shifts due to the coronavirus pandemic, one trend remained constant: The market for clean and natural products continued to advance. Claims of clean ingredients have trended for years in the United States, promoting the idea of product safety by eliminating controversial chemicals from formulas. The idea of safer formulations, especially in categories such as deodorants and antiperspirants and personal cleansing, resonated with consumers during the time of the public health crisis, helping to propel the natural personal care market upwards of 5%, according to Natural and Clean Beauty: United States Market Analysis & Opportunities (published in January 2021).
Clean claims have been trending for years in deodorants and antiperspirants, as spotlighting the exclusion of baking soda or aluminum has become key for marketers. Advancing almost 50% from 2019, the tremendous growth in the category was largely due to increased education and opportunity. Marketers such as Native and Schmidt’s continued to use social media channels to explain the effects of harmful ingredients on the underarms while encouraging consumers to use quarantine time to make the switch to naturally or clean-positioned offerings.
Personal cleansing was also a key category recording strong growth, driven by new brand entrants such as ArtNaturals and NBD. Hand cleansing products, encompassing hand sanitizers and hand soaps, were largely responsible for the near 25% increase in the category. Meanwhile, bath products, encompassing bath additives, body washes, and bar soaps, were also strong as consumers maintained normal use. These products often leaned on both clean claims and hero ingredients. J.R. Watkins and The Seaweed Bath Co. each promoted the exclusion of ingredients such as sulfates and parabens in new collections, while ingredient stories helped to relax or energize the body.
The terms “clean” and “natural” continue to be largely unregulated and are expected to remain so through 2025. This may signal the opportunity for conventional brands, such as Dove, Simple, or OGX, to adjust marketing strategies, leaning into ingredient stories and natural positioning to tap into this fast-growing market. However, brands claiming to be truly natural or clean must encourage consumers to lean on the knowledge gained during 2020 to identify greenwashing and encourage other marketers to put out greener, cleaner, and safer personal care products.
To learn about the various dynamics behind the market for naturally positioned, clean, and organic beauty and personal care products, refer to our just-published Natural and Clean Beauty: United States Market Analysis & Opportunities report, featuring an assessment of brands’ true degrees of naturalness based on Kline’s proprietary rating scale. For a short excerpt of the report, request our fact sheet.