Omnichannel shoppers seriously research what they purchase, whether that’s by looking for relevant attribute keywords online, educating themselves on ingredients and materials, or engaging with brands on social media to discover new products.
New research from NielsenIQ’s “Assessing Attributes eBook” contains data and analysis surrounding how consumers are tailoring shopping and product choices around specific attributes, ingredients and packaging trends. Sherry Frey, vice president of Total Wellness for NielsenIQ, discusses these findings and shopper shifts for the personal care category with Retail Leader Pro.
Retail Leader Pro (RL Pro): Your reporting covers the increasing trend of consumers seeking out specific product attributes (such as recycled, cruelty-free, responsibly sourced, Fair Trade, etc.). Which product attribute categories do you see the biggest boost in shopper interest around? Are there others that have waned in recent months? Why do you think this is?
Sherry Frey: Across the store, we continue to see growth in four major areas (data ending Aug. 6, 2022, vs. three years ago):
- Animal welfare (up 37%);
- Environmental (up 25%);
- Social responsibility (up 22%); and
- Sustainable packaging (up 18%).
For the personal care and beauty space, ingredient trends like paraben-free, sulfate-free and phthalate-free are strong and continue to grow, while animal welfare claims like “humane” and “vegan” fall into that mid-growth state. We’re always watching what’s emerging — high growth now, but also growing across categories — and see reef-safe, plastic-free and clean-label to be key. One thing, in particular, we are seeing in the consumer search data is a marked increase in reef-safe, aluminum-free and refillable packaging.
I would also add that I think the most dramatic shifts are happening around products with a sustainable packaging attribute. For example, NielsenIQ data found that products in the health and beauty category with sustainability claims had profound sales increases. Comparing overall sales in 2021 vs. two years prior:
- Sales of health and beauty products with an “eco-friendly packaging” claim are up 248% and nearly $20 million by volume.
- Sales of products that are “Tetrapak certified” are up almost 200% for the same period.
- Items that are “plastic-free” are up by 172% in sales and by $61 million by volume.
- Those with a “reusable packaging” claim are up 122% in sales compared to two years prior.