Study: Cosmetic Shoppers Favor Product Performance Over Ingredients

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Study: Cosmetic Shoppers Favor Product Performance Over Ingredients


Consumers require more education about the effectiveness and product claims of organic and natural cosmetics to justify paying a premium price, according to a recent study by Chicago-based market research firm Kairos Consumers.

The Kairos study, which included store audits and focus groups of females primarily ages 35 to 45, highlights U.S. consumers’ general lack of knowledge about the ingredients in organic and natural cosmetics, even though these consumers may regularly purchase, and are knowledgeable about, organic food.

Cosmetics shoppers place a greater emphasis on product performance than the safety and wholesomeness that organic and natural skin care brands signify, study results showed. Because consumers seem to know and understand conventional cosmetic claims or be more familiar with the brand names, they tend to favor buying them over products labeled organic or natural.

Consumers buying organic and natural cosmetics admit they don’t know a great deal about what constitutes an organic or a natural product. When asked what they believe makes a natural or organic product appealing to them, cosmetics buyers said safety and the absence of certain “negative” ingredients.

“Cosmetic shoppers told us they believe cosmetics are deemed safe when they are free of ingredients they view as ‘bad,’ such as parabens, dyes and chemicals,” said Betsy Hoag, co-founder of Kairos Consumers. “They also place great importance on the brand’s reputation in the organic or natural marketplace, making brand familiarity an important influencer of cosmetic decisions.”

Hoag continued: “Enormous opportunity exists for both manufacturers and retailers with established brands in organics or naturals, as consumers place great importance on familiar names. Smaller, lesser known brands can also succeed by educating organic shoppers about the effectiveness of organic and natural ingredients, as many consumers in the study indicated a desire for this information.”

To learn more about the findings in this Kairos report and obtain a free copy, visit the “Kairos Now” section of to download the study. Additional consumer research studies are also available on the site.

Kairos Consumers is a market research agency specializing in the design, management and analysis of qualitative consumer and B2B research studies