Consumer preferences are constantly changing and the pace of change only seems to have accelerated in the last decade alone. Unprecedented shifts in culture are redefining the realms of purchasing, entertainment and transactions. People are becoming increasingly aware and engaged and use digitally powered platforms to form opinions, voice them and affect communities.
This new breed of consumer’s demands more than just a product. They demand to hold in their hands a product that also reflects who they are and what they stand for. They truly do care (not just about themselves) and demand that the ethos, processes and culture of businesses they choose to buy from echo their beliefs, support their cause and are inclusive of the diverse world they live in.
Decoding the ethical consumer
Status quo stands shaken and as everything turns on its head, the beauty industry is also responding to and embracing more cause-driven models. Vegan beauty industry’s growth is evidence of how a cultural shift can catapult a cause from a niche concept into a mainstream way-of-life. So what sets this growing ethical audience apart?
Authentic: Consumers are redefining their own personal concept of beauty. No more unrealistic aspirations, no more photo-shopped versions of themselves. Now more than ever, products that deliver natural, healthy skin and enhance beauty the safe way are winning hearts.
Savvy: Fake claims don’t go down well with ethical consumers. And they are an informed lot. They are aware of product ingredients and clued into the processes followed, so false information, marketing ploys and inferior quality are quickly rejected with no second chances.
Digitised: The ethical consumers start conversations and participate through public discussion threads delivering feedback to their beauty brands about what they want. Their voice is shaping the product formulations to become cleaner, greener than and as effective as legacy formulations.
With a heart: They care. About the environment, sustainability, responsible living and wastage. There is a growing call for non-toxic, wholesome and cruelty-free products. They are pushing cosmetic brands to open up about their processes spanning testing, packaging and marketing. They show favour towards businesses with a heart and with a corporate social responsibility. Reforestation efforts, sustainable packaging, PETA certifications and myriad other environmental actions are increasingly driving brand loyalty.
Clean and Green: Safe, nature-based or all-natural cosmetics that are gentle on the skin are finding them in vogue. Harmful synthetics have no place on the ethical consumers’ grooming shelves. They choose wellness and products packed with the goodness of nature, keenly weeding out stuff like parabens, phthalates and animal cruelty from their buying choices.
Bending the curve
The concurrent rise of the ethical consumer is expanding the size and impact of the vegan beauty industry. As thoughtful brands unite with this growing tribe of ethical consumers, the beauty industry stands at the cusp of a great, happy change - one that can possibly begin to remedy the environmental strain the industry has been putting on the planet so far.
*Disclaimer: The article has been contributed by Shankar Prasad, Founder, Pureplay Skin Sciences – Creators of personal care brands Plum, Phy. The opinions expressed in the articles are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and views appearing in this article do not reflect the views of Deccan Chronicle and Deccan Chronicle does not assume any responsibility and liability for the same.